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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 92:131-147 (2010)  -  DOI:

Contribution to the DAO Special 'Chytridiomycosis: An emerging disease'

A molecular perspective: biology of the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Erica Bree Rosenblum1,*, Matthew C. Fisher2, Timothy Y. James3, Jason E. Stajich4,6, Joyce E. Longcore5, Lydia R. Gentry1, Thomas J. Poorten1

1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA
2Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College, London W2 1PG, UK
3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
4Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
5Department of Biological Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA
6Present address: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA

ABSTRACT: Ten years after the first discovery of the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the catastrophic effect of Bd on wild amphibian populations is indisputable. However, a number of persistent questions remain about Bd’s origin and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Here we discuss the promise of genetic and genomic tools for answering these previously intractable questions about the biology and evolutionary history of Bd. Full genomes of 2 Bd strains have recently been sequenced, and Bd research on this species using population genetics, phylogenetics, proteomics, comparative genomics and functional genomics is already underway. We review some of the insights gleaned from the first studies using these genome-scale approaches focusing particularly on Bd’s genomic architecture, patterns of global genetic variation, virulence factors and genetic interactions with hosts. Avenues of future research promise to be particularly fruitful and highlight the need for integrative studies that unite genetic, ecological and spatial data in both Bd and its amphibian hosts. 

KEY WORDS: Genetics · Genomics · Ecological genomics · Pathogenicity · Chytrid · Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

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Cite this article as: Rosenblum EB, Fisher MC, James TY, Stajich JE, Longcore JE, Gentry LR, Poorten TJ (2010) A molecular perspective: biology of the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Dis Aquat Org 92:131-147.

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