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Frog fungus disrupts skin function

Researchers may have finally solved the mystery of the fungal pathogen that has been devastating amphibian populations worldwide. The fungus, known as Batrachonchytrium dendrobatisdis (Bd), appears to alter the permeability of amphibian skin, which can lead to a fatal osmotic imbalance, according to a study published this week in Science. The endangered corroboree frog infected with chytridiomycosis.Image: Jamie Voyles, Alex Hyatt and Frank Fillipi"It's a great study," said ecologist linkurl:K

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Researchers may have finally solved the mystery of the fungal pathogen that has been devastating amphibian populations worldwide. The fungus, known as Batrachonchytrium dendrobatisdis (Bd), appears to alter the permeability of amphibian skin, which can lead to a fatal osmotic imbalance, according to a study published this week in Science.
The endangered corroboree frog
infected with chytridiomycosis.

Image: Jamie Voyles, Alex
Hyatt and Frank Fillipi
"It's a great study," said ecologist linkurl:Karen Lips;http://chemlife.umd.edu/facultyresearch/facultydirectory/karenrlips of the University of Maryland, who did not participate in the research. "It's another small step forward in the hope that we can maybe save some amphibians." Bd can spread rapidly through amphibian populations and has been blamed for numerous extinctions around the globe. The mechanism by which the fungus killed these animals, however, was unknown. Histological preparations of the skin of infected frogs showed clear signs of infection, but other known cutaneous infections are...
The Scientist



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