Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Frogs With Disease-resistance Genes May Escape Extinction

Date:
July 17, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
As frog populations die off around the world, researchers have identified certain genes that can help the amphibians develop resistance to harmful bacteria and disease. The discovery may provide new strategies to protect frog populations in the wild. New work examines how genes encoding the major histocompatibility complex affect the ability of frogs to resist infection by a bacterium that is associated with frog population declines.

As frog populations die off around the world, researchers have identified certain genes that can help the amphibians develop resistance to harmful bacteria and disease. The discovery may provide new strategies to protect frog populations in the wild.
Credit: iStockphoto/Paul Tessier

As frog populations die off around the world, researchers have identified certain genes that can help the amphibians develop resistance to harmful bacteria and disease. The discovery may provide new strategies to protect frog populations in the wild.

New research examines how genes encoding the major histocompatibility (MHC) complex affect the ability of frogs to resist infection by a bacterium that is commonly associated with frog population declines.

"In the short term, captive management of frogs with complementary disease-resistance genes may offer the best hope for saving species from extinction," says Bruce Waldman, a biologist at Lincoln University in New Zealand and one of the paper's authors. "Management practices that maintain or enhance diversity in MHC genes may prove the key to safeguarding frog populations in the wild."

"Massive die-offs of frogs may indicate environmental problems that ultimately will affect other species, including humans," Waldman says. "But, despite the concern, little is known about factors that make individuals susceptible to disease."

Doctoral students Seth Barribeau and Jandouwe Villinger, working with Waldman, exposed African clawed frog tadpoles to several doses of the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila. They examined the number of tadpoles that survived and measured how fast they grew.

Certain genes allowed tadpoles to survive bacterial infection but at a cost, as these tadpoles sometimes grew more slowly. Among siblings, patterns of disease resistance corresponded to tadpoles' MHC genes rather than other genes that they shared, demonstrating that the MHC genes conferred immunity.

Programs currently are underway to rescue frogs from declining wild populations and breed them in captivity to ensure that species are not lost to extinction. This study suggests that selective breeding of individuals with known disease-resistance genes might produce frogs that can survive infection by pathogens, even after the frogs are reintroduced into the wild.

The research team studied the African clawed frog because its immune system already had been well characterized, but as most frogs and toads have similar immune systems, they believe that their results will be generally applicable to all threatened and endangered amphibians.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barribeau et al. Major Histocompatibility Complex Based Resistance to a Common Bacterial Pathogen of Amphibians. PLoS One, 2008; 3 (7): e2692 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002692

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Frogs With Disease-resistance Genes May Escape Extinction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204750.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, July 17). Frogs With Disease-resistance Genes May Escape Extinction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204750.htm
Public Library of Science. "Frogs With Disease-resistance Genes May Escape Extinction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715204750.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins