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Genetic characterization of chytrids isolated from larval amphibians collected in central and east Texas

Marshall, Thomas L., Baca, Carlos R., Correa, Decio T., Forstner, Michael RJ., Hahn, Dittmar, Rodriguez, David
Fungal ecology 2019 v.39 pp. 55-62
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, amphibians, emerging diseases, fungi, genes, genetic analysis, genetic variation, genotype, genotyping, hosts, larvae, pathogens, population dynamics, virulence, Midwestern United States, Texas
Chytridiomycosis, an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has caused amphibian population declines worldwide. Bd was first described in the 1990s and there are still geographic gaps in the genetic analysis of this globally distributed pathogen. Relatively few genetic studies have focused on regions where Bd exhibits low virulence, potentially creating a bias in our current knowledge of the pathogen's genetic diversity. Disease-associated declines have not been recorded in Texas (USA), yet Bd has been detected on amphibians in the state. These strains have not been isolated and characterized genetically; therefore, we isolated, cultured, and genotyped Bd from central Texas and compared isolates to a panel of previously genotyped strains distributed across the Western Hemisphere. We also isolated other chytrids from east Texas not known to infect amphibians. To identify larval amphibian hosts, we sequenced part of the COI gene. Among 37 Bd isolates from Texas, we detected 19 unique multi-locus genotypes, but found no genetic structure associated with host species, Texas localities, or across North America. Isolates from central Texas exhibit high diversity and genetically cluster with BdGPL isolates from the western U.S. that have caused amphibian population declines. This study genetically characterizes isolates of Bd from the south central U.S. and adds to the global knowledge of Bd genotypes.