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Phylogenetics of a fungal invasion: Origins and widespread dispersal of white-nose syndrome

December 13, 2017

Globalization has facilitated the worldwide movement and introduction of pathogens, but epizoological reconstructions of these invasions are often hindered by limited sampling and insufficient genetic resolution among isolates. Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungal pathogen causing the epizootic of white-nose syndrome in North American bats, has exhibited few genetic polymorphisms in previous studies, presenting challenges for both epizoological tracking of the spread of this fungus and for determining its evolutionary history. We used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from whole-genome sequencing and microsatellites to construct high-resolution phylogenies of P. destructans. Shallow genetic diversity and the lack of geographic structuring among North American isolates support a recent introduction followed by expansion via clonal reproduction across the epizootic zone. Moreover, the genetic relationships of isolates within North America suggest widespread mixing and long-distance movement of the fungus. Genetic diversity among isolates of P. destructans from Europe was substantially higher than in those from North America. However, genetic distance between the North American isolates and any given European isolate was similar to the distance between the individual European isolates. In contrast, the isolates we examined from Asia were highly divergent from both European and North American isolates. Although the definitive source for introduction of the North American population has not been conclusively identified, our data support the origin of the North American invasion by P. destructans from Europe rather than Asia.

Publication Year 2017
Title Phylogenetics of a fungal invasion: Origins and widespread dispersal of white-nose syndrome
DOI 10.1128/mBio.01941-17
Authors Kevin P. Drees, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Sebastein J. Puechmaille, Katy L. Parise, Gudrun Wibbelt, Joseph R. Hoyt, Keping Sun, Ariunbold Jargalsaikhan, Munkhnast Dalannast, Jonathan M. Palmer, Daniel L. Linder, Marm Kilpatrick, Talima Pearson, Paul S. Keim, David S. Blehert, Jeffrey T. Foster
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title mBio
Index ID 70194710
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center