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More accurate, sensitive DNA test allows early identification of fungus causing WNS
Date:3/13/2013

a huge diversity of unidentified, unnamed fungi, and these were interfering with detection."

White Nose Syndrome was first identified in Upstate New York in 2006. Since then it has spread to caves throughout the East Coast and killed millions of bats, and it continues to spread.

"White Nose Syndrome is arguably the most devastating wildlife disease we've faced," said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station. "Forest Service scientists are conducting research to halt this disease and save bats, which are so important to agriculture and forest ecosystems."

Scientists identified Geomyces destructans as the cause of WNS in 2012. Conclusively identifying the fungus either on a bat or in soil has been difficult and time consuming because a variety of closely related Geomyces species found where bats hibernate have the potential to cause false positives using previous DNA testing. Previous tests also lacked sensitivity, making it possible to miss the fungus in some samples. The new test is 100-times more sensitive than previous tests and can detect a single spore of the fungus.


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Contact: Jane Hodgins
jmhodgins@gmail.com
651-304-7607
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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