Genetic potential for disease resistance in critically endangered amphibians decimated by chytridiomycosis

Kosch, T.A., Silva, C.N.S, Brannelly, L.A., Roberts, A.A., Lau, Q., Marantelli, G., Berger, L., and Skerratt, L.F. (2019) Genetic potential for disease resistance in critically endangered amphibians decimated by chytridiomycosis. Animal Conservation, 22 (3). pp. 238-250.

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Hundreds of amphibian species have declined worldwide after the emergence of the amphibian fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite captive breeding efforts, it is unlikely that wild populations for many species will be reestablished unless Bd resistance increases. We performed a Bd‐challenge study in the functionally extinct southern corroboree frog Pseudophryne corroboree to investigate differences in Bd susceptibility among individuals and populations, identify genetic [major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I] and genome‐wide variants associated with Bd resistance, and measure genetic diversity and population genetic structure. We found three MHC variants and one MHC supertype associated with Bd infection load and survival along with a suggestively associated single nucleotide polymorphism. We also showed that genome‐wide heterozygosity is associated with increased survival. Additionally, we found evidence of significant population structure among the four P. corroboree populations studied and high MHC genetic diversity. Our results indicate that there are immunogenetic differences among captive southern corroboree frogs; such differences could be manipulated to increase disease resistance and mitigate the significant threat of chytridiomycosis. These results demonstrate a potential long‐term solution to chytridiomycosis that could include breeding more resistant individuals and returning them to the wild.

Item ID: 55969
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-1795
Keywords: major histocompatibility complex; Pseudophryne corroboree; Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; genetic association; immunogenetics; amphibian declines; chytridiomycosis; disease resistance
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 The Zoological Society of London.
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Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW-OEH), Queensland Information Technology and Innovation (QITI)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP110200240, ARC FT100100375, NSW-OEH Taronga Zoo grant, QITI Accelerate Fellowship Grant: 14‐218
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 01:02
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300906 Veterinary immunology @ 25%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3105 Genetics > 310507 Genetic immunology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310905 Animal immunology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 60%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 40%
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