Using genomic tools to study ecology and amphibian decline

Amphibians around the world have been experiencing massive population declines due to infection with a virulent chytrid fungus. In this system we are leveraging whole genome sequencing efforts for the model frog species, Xenopus tropicalis and the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to study the genomics of infection in both host and pathogen and to investigate the impact of chytrid on wild populations of non-model frogs impacted by the disease.

Our frog/chytrid work primarily focuses on understanding, from a whole-genome perspective, the genetic changes associated with the fungal infection of frog hosts. By evaluating global gene expression profiles of experimental frog pairs (e.g., infected vs. uninfected, susceptible vs. resistant) we are identifying genes that are involved in immune response for frogs exposed to B. dendrobatidis, and evaluating frog response to fungal infection under different environmental conditions. Currently we are conducting whole genome expression experiments with X. tropicalis, but these investigations will be applied in the coming years to R. muscosa and other frog species experiencing chytrid related declines.


Nicole Maddox
Erica Bree Rosenblum