By Maxime Schwartz
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Extra info for How the cows turned mad
The two veterinarians believed the answer was yes, and they succeeded in transmitting scrapie to two lambs by inoculating them with a filtrate from crushed spinal cord tissue from a sick ewe. In another important achievement, Cuillé and Chelle succeeded in transmitting scrapie to two goats, one male and one female. The incubation period was only a little longer than in sheep: twenty-five and twenty-six months, respectively. This was the first time that scrapie had been described in goats, and a few years later Chelle would describe an instance of natural transmission in a female goat raised among a flock of sheep in which the disease had been present for several years.
It had long been observed that living things gave birth to creatures similar to themselves. But until Mendel, the underlying mechanism of the stability of species was completely unknown. No one understood how traits were passed from generation to generation. Mendel’s genius lay in his concentrating on a small number of easily recognized traits, crossing parents with differing traits and studying their offspring. He chose to experiment on peas, and looked at traits such as the color and shape of their seeds.
During the Second World War, Creutzfeldt did what he could to oppose the Nazi regime; his clinic at Kiel provided sanctuary for many who refused to submit to Hitler’s racial laws. After the war, he exposed the particularly revolting activities of one of his colleagues, Werner Heyde, who had played a key role in carrying out the Nazis’ euthanasia program targeting those mentally ill patients who were considered incurable. Under the alias of Fritz Sawade, Heyde had found work as a psychiatrist at Kiel and was often summoned to testify in court as an expert witness before his wartime activities were brought to 31 HOW THE COWS TURNED MAD 32 light.
How the cows turned mad by Maxime Schwartz