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Innovation by Scientists from the Global South to Monitor the Ongoing Amphibian Pandemic


The new diagnostic test detected Indian variants of mycosis fungoides that had not been identified by previous tests, and showed sensitivity to strains from other parts of the world. Credit: Brian Gratwick

The Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center of Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama has partnered with the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India to develop and validate a new test for chytridiomycosis strains, providing new insights into the wildlife disease causing such a dramatic outbreak. More than 500 species of amphibians and the extinction of 90 other species. An assay of their version published in the journal Transboundary and emerging diseasesidentified previously undetected Indian subspecies, and successfully discovered subspecies from other parts of the world.

The new diagnostic test has been tested with frogs, toads, caecilians (amphibians without limbs) and salamanders (tailed amphibians) in India, with results comparable to or even better than the recommended gold standard assay for diagnosing chytridiomycosis. Its efficacy has been successfully validated in laboratories in Panama and Australia, proving to be an affordable alternative to widespread monitoring of congenital mycosis in different parts of the world.

Rapid detection of mycosis fungoides is essential in managing and mitigating the disease. But ongoing research on this infection, caused by two fungal pathogens, reveals a complex, dynamically evolving genome. As new strains develop in different parts of the world and spread through the global amphibian trade, extensive monitoring of emerging hybrid cultivars is necessary. The newly developed scan will aid in global detection, highlighting the value of international scientific collaboration in the search for solutions to a common threat.

“This test will allow researchers to study and determine the prevalence of previously undetected amphibian chytrid strains, especially in countries around the Indian Ocean, where human trade has moved and introduced species of frog,” said STRI scientist Roberto Ibanez. I collaborated on the study.

The new test may also help discover reservoirs of pathogens that have not yet been identified. This means that amphibian species that may be infected but do not show obvious symptoms of disease or death and are able to silently transmit the disease to other susceptible species in their vicinity.

“One strain of the amphibian chytrid fungus caused a significant decline in their numbers, and even the disappearance of amphibian species in Panama,” said co-author Ibanez. Chiriquí harlequin frog (Atelopus chiriquiensis) and the Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeitica) has not been seen for several years. A few species of frogs have reappeared in some areas, but they have not fully recovered their former population levels. The amphibious chytrid fungus continues to pose a threat to susceptible species in natural areas.”

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, based in Panama City, Panama, is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The institute promotes understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human well-being, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems.

more information:
Gayathri Sridharan et al., Comprehensive and Efficient Detection of Chytridiomycosis Infection in Amphibians Using Novel Quantitative PCR Markers, Transboundary and emerging diseases (2023). DOI: 10.1155/2023/9980566

Provided by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

the quote: Scientists from the Global South Innovate to Track Ongoing Amphibian Pandemic (2023, May 24) Retrieved May 24, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-scientists-global-south-track-ongoing.html

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