Multilocus sequence typing suggests the chytrid pathogen of amphibians is a recently emerged clone

Authors


Tim James. Fax: 919-660-7293; E-mail: tyj2@duke.edu

Abstract

Chytridiomycosis is a recently identified fungal disease associated with global population declines of frogs. Although the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is considered an emerging pathogen, little is known about its population genetics, including the origin of the current epidemic and how this relates to the dispersal ability of the fungus. In this study, we use multilocus sequence typing to examine genetic diversity and relationships among 35 fungal strains from North America, Africa and Australia. Only five variable nucleotide positions were detected among 10 loci (5918 bp). This low level of genetic variation is consistent with the description of B. dendrobatidis as a recently emerged disease agent. Fixed (i.e. 100%) or nearly fixed frequencies of heterozygous genotypes at two loci suggested that B. dendrobatidis is diploid and primarily reproduces clonally. In contrast to the lack of nucleotide polymorphism, electrophoretic karyotyping of multiple strains demonstrated a number of chromosome length polymorphisms.

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