[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 5-Feb-2009
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-079-205-86437
BioMed Central

Mutant rats resist warfarin

A new series of mutations have been discovered that allow rats to resist the effects of the popular poison warfarin. Research published in the open access journal BMC Genetics describes eighteen new genetic changes found in rats from four continents.

Simone Rost from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, and an international team of researchers studied more than 250 rats and mice from anticoagulant-exposed areas in Europe, East Asia, South Africa and the Americas. Rost explained that, "Resistance against warfarin-like compounds has been reported in rodent populations from many countries around the world and poses a considerable problem for efficacy of pest control."

Warfarin and related compounds are derivatives of the plant toxin coumarin. They prevent blood coagulation by repressing the enzyme vitamin-K reductase (VKOR). Rost and colleagues studied VKORC1, the gene responsible for a key component of the VKOR multiprotein complex. According to the authors, "Mutations in VKORC1 may cause a heritable resistance to warfarin, possibly by preventing coumarin derivatives from interfering with the activity of the reductase enzyme".

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Notes to Editors:

1. Novel mutations in the VKORC1 gene of wild rats and mice - a response to 50 years of selection pressure by warfarin?
Simone Rost, Hans-Joachim Pelz, Sandra Menzel, Alan D MacNicoll, Vanina Leon, Ki-Joon Song, Thomas Jaekel, Johannes Oldenburg and Clemens R Muller
BMC Genetics (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/9468186021925048_article.pdf?random=289765

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcgenet/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. BMC Genetics is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of inheritance and variation in individuals and among populations. BMC Genetics (ISSN 1471-2156) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Zoological Record, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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