Virology

Tumors in green turtles

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 367-368
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6349.367-d

A new approach allows for the culture of a herpesvirus that may cause cancer in green sea turtles.

PHOTO: SHANEMYERSPHOTO/ISTOCKPHOTO

Green turtles are an endangered species, and, like many marine species, they can have cancer. Green turtles can develop a fatal condition, fibropapillomatosis, which involves the development of multiple tumors in the skin and various other organs. Fibropapillomatosis is thought to be caused by a herpesvirus, ChHV5, but this remains unproven because the virus is not easily cultured. Work et al. report a method to culture ChHV5 in sections of green turtle skin and in three-dimensional matrices that resemble the structure of skin. This method should allow the study of ChHV5 (and other viruses that cannot be grown in culture), thereby answering the question of whether it is the cause of fibropapillomatosis.

J. Virol. 10.1128/JVI.00404-17 (2017).

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