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Biodiversity loss is one major outcome of human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. One way that humans have triggered wildlife declines is by transporting disease-causing agents to remote areas of the world. Amphibians have been hit particularly hard by disease due in part to a globally distributed pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]). Prior research has revealed important insights into the biology and distribution of Bd; however, there are still many outstanding questions in this system. Although we know that there are multiple divergent lineages of Bd that differ in pathogenicity, we know little about how these lineages are distributed around the world and where lineages may be coming into contact. Here, we implement a custom genotyping method for a global set of Bd samples. This method is optimized to amplify and sequence degraded DNA from noninvasive skin swab samples. We describe a divergent lineage of Bd, which we call BdASIA3, that appears to be widespread in Southeast Asia. This lineage co-occurs with the global panzootic lineage (BdGPL) in multiple localities. Additionally, we shed light on the global distribution of BdGPL and highlight the expanded range of another lineage, BdCAPE. Finally, we argue that more monitoring needs to take place where Bd lineages are coming into contact and where we know little about Bd lineage diversity. Monitoring need not use expensive or difficult field techniques but can use archived swab samples to further explore the history—and predict the future impacts—of this devastating pathogen.
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Byrne, Allison Q.; Vredenburg, Vance T.; Martel, An; Pasmans, Frank; Bell, Rayna C.; Blackburn, David C.; and Catenazzi, Alessandro, "Cryptic diversity of a widespread global pathogen reveals expanded threats to amphibian conservation" (2019). Department of Biological Sciences. 198.
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