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Individual Highlight

Scientists Isolate and Perform Next-generation DNA-sequencing of Genome of the Fungus Causing White-nose Syndrome

Photo of Photo of big brown bat. Daniel Lindner, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Photo of big brown bat. Daniel Lindner, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Forest Service scientists isolated and performed next-generation DNA-sequencing of the entire genome of the white-nose syndrome fungus discovered in Washington state and compared it to other strains found in eastern North America and Europe. This work was part of a collaborative effort to fight the fungus, a devastating invasive disease that is causing widespread ecosystem disruptions and pushing multiple bat species toward extinction.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Lindner, DanielPalmer, Jonathan M.
Research Location : Washington State
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1181

Summary

In March 2016, a little brown bat found sick near North Bend, Washington, tested positive for white-nose syndrome (WNS), an invasive disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd. North Bend is located about 1,300 miles from Nebraska, the previous westernmost WNS detection. Because Pd is also present in Eurasia and North Bend is located near an international port, Forest Service scientists at the agency’s Northern Research Station studied DNA from the Washington fungus to determine if it had roots abroad. Working in concert with the Forest Service’s National Forest System, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, the scientists isolated and performed next-generation DNA-sequencing of the entire genome of the fungus found in Washington and compared it to other strains found in eastern North America and Europe. The results conclusively established that the strain found on the Washington bat matches the strains of fungus from the eastern U.S. and does not represent a new introduction. The techniques pioneered by Forest Service scientists for identifying isolates of Pd will help to determine if and when new strains of the fungus enter the United States, a situation that could make this devastating disease even more difficult to control.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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