Rapid global expansion of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis into declining and healthy amphibian populations

James, Timothy Y., Litvintseva, Anastasia P., Vilgalys, Rytas, Morgan, Jess A. T., Taylor, John W., Fisher, Matthew C., Berger, Lee, Weldon, Che, du Preez, Louis and Longcore, Joyce E. (2009) Rapid global expansion of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis into declining and healthy amphibian populations. PLoS Pathogens, 5 5: e1000458-1-e1000458-12. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000458

Author James, Timothy Y.
Litvintseva, Anastasia P.
Vilgalys, Rytas
Morgan, Jess A. T.
Taylor, John W.
Fisher, Matthew C.
Berger, Lee
Weldon, Che
du Preez, Louis
Longcore, Joyce E.
Title Rapid global expansion of the fungal disease chytridiomycosis into declining and healthy amphibian populations
Journal name PLoS Pathogens   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1553-7366
Publication date 2009-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000458
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Issue 5
Start page e1000458-1
End page e1000458-12
Total pages 12
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The fungal disease chytridiomycosis, caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is enigmatic because it occurs globally in both declining and apparently healthy (non-declining) amphibian populations. This distribution has fueled debate concerning whether, in sites where it has recently been found, the pathogen was introduced or is endemic. In this study, we addressed the molecular population genetics of a global collection of fungal strains from both declining and healthy amphibian populations using DNA sequence variation from 17 nuclear loci and a large fragment from the mitochondrial genome. We found a low rate of DNA polymorphism, with only two sequence alleles detected at each locus, but a high diversity of diploid genotypes. Half of the loci displayed an excess of heterozygous genotypes, consistent with a primarily clonal mode of reproduction. Despite the absence of obvious sex, genotypic diversity was high (44 unique genotypes out of 59 strains). We provide evidence that the observed genotypic variation can be generated by loss of heterozygosity through mitotic recombination. One strain isolated from a bullfrog possessed as much allelic diversity as the entire global sample, suggesting the current epidemic can be traced back to the outbreak of a single clonal lineage. These data are consistent with the current chytridiomycosis epidemic resulting from a novel pathogen undergoing a rapid and recent range expansion. The widespread occurrence of the same lineage in both healthy and declining populations suggests that the outcome of the disease is contingent on environmental factors and host resistance.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article # e1000458

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 108 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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