Friday, 16 March 2018

Early warning system for deadly amphibian pathogen

Date:  March 12, 2018
Source:  Washington State University

Environmental DNA is a new technology that detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment. Scientists demonstrate for the first time that it can be used to detect the presence of a deadly pathogen before it wipes out populations of amphibians.
New technology being developed at Washington State University could help save amphibians around the world from a deadly fungal pathogen.

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd is a particularly nasty type of fungus that attacks the skin of frogs and salamanders.

Over the past 30 years, the highly lethal pathogen has caused the catastrophic decline or extinction of at least 200 species of frogs on six different continents and has been implicated in the unexplained disappearance of Central American salamanders as well.

One of the major challenges in preventing the spread of Bd is the lack of an effective method to predict where outbreaks may occur.

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