Genetics Of Chytrid Fungus Evolves, Posing New Risks To World’s Amphibians

June 26, 2018

The genetics of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungus that causes chytridiomycosis, or chytrid, may become deadlier as genetic variations of the fungus reveal themselves, according to a new study published by the University of Alabama. 

pumpkin toadlet

Fabio Maffei/Shutterstock

The pumpkin toadlet was subjected to a hybrid version of chytrid fungus and did not fare well.

Researchers with the university tested a Brazilian hybrid form of Bd as well as parent strains on frogs from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and found the rate of infection and strength of the illness from the hybrid Bd to be much deadlier. 

Frogs tested in the study included the pumpkin toadlet (Brachycephalus ephippium), Ischnocnema parva and the lesser tree frog (Dendropsophus minutus).

Origin Of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Came From Asian Amphibians, New Study Says

“The genetics of this fungus are changing, and with these changes may come new risks for frog populations,” Dr. Sasha Greenspan, a UA post-doctoral researcher and lead researcher on the paper said in a press release put out by the university.

The researchers say the fungus has had a negative impact on amphibians for the last 40 years, but a new version, known as Global Pandemic Lineage, or Bd-GPL is very deadly. The researchers say that Bd-GPL reproduced with another lineage in Brazil, in a process known as hybridization, and this hybridized version of the fungus is even more deadly than Bd-GPL in frogs native to Brazil.

“This is significant because it shows that hybrids of this fungus can increase disease risk,” Greenspan said. “Since it is well-established that Bd has a dynamic genome and is now nearly globally distributed, this finding highlights the importance of global surveillance to detect future genomic shifts in this disease system that could lead to new outbreaks of chytridiomycosis,” Greenspan wrote in the paper.

Related Articles

USFWS Sued For Lack Of California Tiger Salamander Recovery Plan

Lack of plan further imperils Ambystoma californiense, conservation group says.

Australia's Armoured Mist Frog Range Expanded

Scientists move 40 Litoria lorica to new location four kilometers from only known area in which the frogs can be found.

Louisiana Proposes Endangered Status For Mississippi Gopher Frog

Wildlife and Fisheries Commission also proposes permit system for taking or killing Eastern Diamondback rattler and two species of pine snake.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Cast Your Vote

What other animals do you keep?




Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module

Find Us On facebook

Edit ModuleShow Tags