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Development and disease: how susceptibility to an emerging pathogen changes through anuran development.
PLoS ONE (2011)
  • N. A. Haislip
  • Matthew J. Gray, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • J. T. Hoverman
  • Debra L. Miller, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Ranaviruses have caused die-offs of amphibians across the globe. In North America, these pathogens cause more amphibian mortality events than any other pathogen. Field observations suggest that ranavirus epizootics in amphibian communities are common during metamorphosis, presumably due to changes in immune function. However, few controlled studies have compared the relative susceptibility of amphibians to ranaviruses across life stages. Our objectives were to measure differences in mortality and infection prevalence following exposure to ranavirus at four developmental stages and determine whether the differences were consistent among seven anuran species. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that susceptibility to ranavirus would be greatest at metamorphosis. Our results did not support this hypothesis, as four of the species were most susceptible to ranavirus during the larval or hatchling stages. The embryo stage had the lowest susceptibility among species probably due to the protective membranous layers of the egg. Our results indicate that generalizations should be made cautiously about patterns of susceptibility to ranaviruses among amphibian developmental stages and species. Further, if early developmental stages of amphibians are susceptible to ranaviruses, the impact of ranavirus epizootic events may be greater than realized due to the greater difficulty of detecting morbid hatchlings and larvae compared to metamorphs.
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Citation Information
N. A. Haislip, Matthew J. Gray, J. T. Hoverman and Debra L. Miller. "Development and disease: how susceptibility to an emerging pathogen changes through anuran development." PLoS ONE Vol. 6 Iss. 7 (2011)
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