Chytridiomycosis, a well-known infectious disease in amphibians is caused by a deadly chytrid fungus. It is said to be the main cause for global amphibian mass extinction. For the first time, the chytrid fungus has been found the cause for infecting and killing species other than amphibians with giving clues on the cause of the disease.
According to Phys.org, researchers from Imperial College London have found and demonstrated that Chytrid fungus can also be responsible for infecting zebrafish at the initial larval stage. The larval stage is the initial stage of their development, just after they hatch from the eggs. Before this research, the Chytrid fungus was thought to affect only the group of amphibians.
The scientific name for Chytrid fungus is Batrachochytrium dendrobatids (Bd). It is known for severely affecting more than 700 amphibian species around the world and is responsible for the extinction of species than any other infectious disease, which is known to science till date. Chytridiomycosis damages the skin of the amphibian and kills its host resulting in death.
Imperial College reports that the research was done by studying the prior infected amphibians. The specialists found that Bd disease grabbed hold in zebrafish hatchlings comparatively to how it does in creatures of land and water. Professor Mat Fisher, a co-author of the research study said, "The fact that chytrid fungus is able to infect zebrafish larvae could mean that we now have a more effective animal model with which to study the fungus and continue our research in how to save these amphibians."
The research paper on Chytrid fungus was published in Nature Communications. The research work will prompt zebrafish as another model for studying the infection. This could give researchers the chance to comprehend in more detail how the deadly fungus hurts its land and amphibian hosts.