A molecular perspective: biology of the emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Dis Aquat Organ. 2010 Nov;92(2-3):131-47. doi: 10.3354/dao02179.


Ten years after the first discovery of the chytrid pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the catastrophic effect of Bd on wild amphibian populations is indisputable. However, a number of persistent questions remain about Bd's origin and mechanisms of pathogenicity. Here we discuss the promise of genetic and genomic tools for answering these previously intractable questions about the biology and evolutionary history of Bd. Full genomes of 2 Bd strains have recently been sequenced, and Bd research on this species using population genetics, phylogenetics, proteomics, comparative genomics and functional genomics is already underway. We review some of the insights gleaned from the first studies using these genome-scale approaches focusing particularly on Bd's genomic architecture, patterns of global genetic variation, virulence factors and genetic interactions with hosts. Avenues of future research promise to be particularly fruitful and highlight the need for integrative studies that unite genetic, ecological and spatial data in both Bd and its amphibian hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians*
  • Animals
  • Chytridiomycota / genetics*
  • Chytridiomycota / pathogenicity
  • Chytridiomycota / physiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / veterinary*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Genotype
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Molecular Biology
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Mycoses / veterinary*
  • Phylogeny
  • Ploidies