Scientists have identified a likely source of the deadly amphibian disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. A species of frog that was used decades ago in human pregnancy tests is a carrier of the fungus, which now threatens the survival of many species of amphibians.
The African clawed frog was used in the 1930’s to 1950’s around the world. Once another pregnancy test was developed, some of the frogs were released into the wild.
Researchers have discovered the deadly fungus on museum specimens of African clawed frogs collected between 1871 and 2010. Their study shows that the disease was present in the species prior to their export worldwide.
The study is available on PLoS One at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0063791.