Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preserved frogs hold clues to deadly pathogen

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A graduate student has developed a novel means for charting the history of a pathogen deadly to amphibians worldwide.

A Yale graduate student has developed a novel means for charting the history of a pathogen deadly to amphibians worldwide.

Katy Richards-Hrdlicka, a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, examined 164 preserved amphibians for the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, an infectious pathogen driving many species to extinction. The pathogen is found on every continent inhabited by amphibians and in more than 200 species. Bd causes chytridiomycosis, which is one of the most devastating infectious diseases to vertebrate wildlife.

Richards-Hrdlicka swabbed the skin of 10 species of amphibians dating back to 1963 and preserved in formalin at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Those swabs were then analyzed for the presence of the deadly pathogen.

"I have long proposed that the millions of amphibians maintained in natural-history collections around the world are just waiting to be sampled," she said.

The samples were then analyzed using a highly sensitive molecular test called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) that can detect Bd DNA, even from specimens originally fixed in formalin. Formalin has long been recognized as a potent chemical that destroys DNA.

"This advancement holds promise to uncover Bd's global or regional date and place of arrival, and it could also help determine if some of the recent extinctions or disappearances could be tied to Bd," said Richards-Hrdlicka. "Scientists will also be able to identify deeper molecular patterns of the pathogen, such as genetic changes and patterns relating to strain differences, virulence levels and its population genetics."

Richards-Hrdlicka found Bd in six specimens from Guilford, Conn., dating back to 1968, the earliest record of Bd in the Northeast. Four other animals from the 1960s were infected and came from Hamden, Litchfield and Woodbridge. From specimens collected in the 2000s, 27 infected with Bd came from Woodbridge and southern Connecticut. In other related work, she found that nearly 30 percent of amphibians in Connecticut today are infected, yet show no outward signs of infection.

Amphibian populations and species around the world are declining or disappearing as a result of land-use change, habitat loss, climate change and disease. The chytrid fungus, caused by Bd, suffocates amphibians by preventing them from respiring through their skin. Since Bd's identification in the late 1990s, there has been an intercontinental effort to document amphibian populations and species infected with it. Richards-Hrdlicka's work will enable researchers to look to the past for additional insight into the pathogen's impact.

Richards-Hrdlicka's paper, "Extracting the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus from Formalin-fixed Specimens," appears in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katy Richards-Hrdlicka. Extracting the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus from Formalin-fixed Specimens. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2012 (accepted)

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Preserved frogs hold clues to deadly pathogen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620113244.htm>.
Yale University. (2012, June 20). Preserved frogs hold clues to deadly pathogen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620113244.htm
Yale University. "Preserved frogs hold clues to deadly pathogen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620113244.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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