As a preview, here is a pretty scary story about prions.
A British woman who died of a brain disease suggestive of variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD) had a genetic marker not seen in any previous vCJD patients, raising the possibility that her illness represented a new form of the disease that could signal a new wave of infections, according to a recent research report.
The researchers, who reported their findings in the December 2007 issue of Archives of Neurology, found that the 39-year-old woman carried the VV (valine-homozygous) version of the prion protein gene (PRNP), a type previously thought to confer protection against vCJD.
Scary stuff! For the full story, which is really interesting, see http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/other/bse/news/jan0908vcjd.html