Frogs Adapting to deadly pathogens

Cornell University of Central Florida researchers found that some species of frogs in Arizona have begun to develop immunity to a fungal disease found in amphibians called Batrachochrytrium dendrobatridis or BD. This disease has been attacking the amphibian population on a global scale for half a century now, running some species near extinction


It seems that some populations are rising due to natural selection of frogs which test positive for Bd, but survive due to a genetic mutation. “The variations in immune system genes that give frogs tolerance to Bd infections are associated with a frog’s ability to identify pathogens and launch an immune response.” Evolution is favoring the frogs which show genetic immunity.

While this is great news, the unfortunate reality is now that environmental conditions are too inconsistent for some of these “superior frogs” to make consistent headway in spreading their immunity through the genetic pool. These frogs only contract Bd in the winter months, and with the increased periods of rising heat and drought, there is not enough selective pressure to get these frogs to adapt fast enough for this immunity to stick.


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