Frog killer immune genes revealed   Leave a comment

 

 

Breeding success

“Ms Savage suggests a role in captive breeding programmes – the last resort for species that cannot remain in their native habitat because it is infested with chytrid.

Chytridiomycosis can kill amphibians in less than a week – depending on their genes

The idea would be to screen amphibians’ MHC genes before breeding, to increase the odds of producing Bd-resistant tadpoles.

Prof Reid Harris, an amphibian specialist at James Madison University in Virginia who is trying to develop new treatments for chytrid, described the latest news as “very exciting”.

The study goes a long way toward understanding the genetic basis of resistance to the amphibian chytrid, and it opens up the possibility of selecting for resistance to the disease,” he told BBC News.

“However, amphibian defences are multidimensional and include innate immune components and microbial defences.

“It is likely that a successful mitigation strategy will be multidimensional as well.”

However, chytrid is only one of the many threats that amphibians face today.

The most profound is loss of habitat, as marshes are drained, forests cleared, and wild areas tamed for human use.

“Although our study provides a new hope that amphibians may bounce back from chytridiomycosis, it does not eliminate the need for human conservation efforts,” Ms Savage stressed.

“Habitat loss, invasive species and habitat degradation are other major factors leading to amphibian declines; and if we can work to provide good habitats so that amphibian population sizes and genetic diversity can increase, they will be much more likely to have the genetic capacity to adapt to Bd.” ”

via BBC News – Frog killer immune genes revealed.

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Posted September 27, 2011 by arnoneumann in Conservation

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