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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 73:175-192 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao073175

Diagnostic assays and sampling protocols for the detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

A. D. Hyatt,1,* D. G. Boyle1, V. Olsen1, D. B. Boyle1, L. Berger2, D. Obendorf3, A. Dalton4, K. Kriger5, M. Hero5, H. Hines6, R. Phillott7, R. Campbell7, G. Marantelli8, F. Gleason9, A. Colling1

1Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO Livestock Industries, Private Bag 24, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia
2School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
37 Bonnington Road, West Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
4School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 5, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
5Centre for Innovative Conservation Strategies, Griffith University, Queensland 9726, Australia
6Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 64, Bellbowrie, Queensland 4070, Australia
7School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
8The Amphibian Research Centre, Western Treatment Plant, New Farm Road, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia
9School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia

ABSTRACT: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is a fungus belonging to the Phylum Chytridiomycota, Class Chytridiomycetes, Order Chytridiales, and is the highly infectious aetiological agent responsible for a potentially fatal disease, chytridiomycosis, which is currently decimating many of the world’s amphibian populations. The fungus infects 2 amphibian orders (Anura and Caudata), 14 families and at least 200 species and is responsible for at least 1 species extinction. Whilst the origin of the agent and routes of transmission are being debated, it has been recognised that successful management of the disease will require effective sampling regimes and detection assays. We have developed a range of unique sampling protocols together with diagnostic assays for the detection of B. dendrobatidis in both living and deceased tadpoles and adults. Here, we formally present our data and discuss them in respect to assay sensitivity, specificity, repeatability and reproducibility. We suggest that compliance with the recommended protocols will avoid the generation of spurious results, thereby providing the international scientific and regulatory community with a set of validated procedures which will assist in the successful management of chytridiomycosis in the future.

KEY WORDS: Chytridiomycosis · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis · Amphibian declines · Diagnostic assays · Sampling protocols

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