Young Wood Frog

ACSF Faculty Fellow Kelly Zamudio (EEB) was one of an international team of researchers that recently sequenced the genomes of 29 strains of a fungus 

Genome Offers Clues to Frog-Killing Fungus

June 5, 2013

Young Wood Frog

ACSF Faculty Fellow Kelly Zamudio (EEB) was one of an international team of researchers that recently sequenced the genomes of 29 strains of a fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), responsible for the mass killing of amphibians around the world. As Futurity.org reports:

Previous research had suggested that a group of related strains of the fungus responsible for the current global pandemic, called the Global Panzootic Lineage (GPL), resulted from a recent lethal hybridization. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings reveal that the GPL existed long before the current pandemic, possibly descending from an ancestor that originated 26,000 years ago.

“We found a lot more genetic variation than people knew about,” says Kelly Zamudio, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, of the sequenced Bd genomes. “It could lead us to a better understanding of what makes it kill. Once we know the genetic makeup of a pathogen, maybe we can understand what makes it such a powerful killer.”

The new genetic data will allow scientists to investigate recent environmental changes that may have made the pathogen more virulent to its hosts in places devastated by the GPL. Zamudio was a principal investigator on a 2008 Academic Venture Fund project that informed this more recent research.

Read more on Futurity.org.