Texas Tech University

Mammal Collections and Zoonoses

The NSRL has played a substantial roll in the investigation of mammalian-borne zoonoses over the last twenty years. This involvement has been in two primary areas, resources and personnel. Resources include the Recent Mammal Collection that serves as a repository for voucher specimens associated with research projects and the Genetic Resource Collection (frozen tissue and blood samples) that serve as material for initial detection and isolation of diseases and voucher specimens for verification and documentation of host species. Personnel at the NSRL have offered expertise in specimen identification, deposition of voucher material, systematics, phylogenetic reconstruction, procurement of research material, field assistance, and in the development of genetic profiles.

people working on mammal specimensListed below are a few of the projects dependent on the NSRL's resources and personnel.

  • For nearly twenty years, the NSRL has worked with the Texas Department of Public Health in identifying bat specimens suspected of carrying the rabies virus.
  • Rodent tissues housed in the Genetic Resource Collection played a vital role in the Center for Disease Control response to the hantavirsus outbreak in the early 1990's.
  • Departments of Public Health from Texas, Arizona, and California have archived samples in the GRC that document zoonotic carriers.
  • GRC tissue samples were a source of description of a new hantavirus (Catacamus) and 6 new arenaviruses (Skinner Tank, Big Bushy, Caterina, Orogrande, Tonto Creek, and Bear Canyon).
  • Samples routinely are provided to the Center for Disease Control, US Army Medical Corp, and university researchers to address research questions on viral diseases.
  • The GRC provides genetic parameters for zoonotic species to accurately identify vector species, reservoir species, modes of transmission, and provides barcode type data that identifies the geographic origin of individuals and species.
  • At least 25 scientific papers have been published that used tissues from GRC as sources for virus isolation or representation .
  • Samples from the GRC have formed the basis for at least 5 NIH proposals investigating various mammalian-borne infectious diseases.


Natural Science Research Laboratory