News FocusHuman Genome 10th Anniversary

Tackling the Mystery of the Disappearing Frogs

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Science  25 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6020, pp. 1007-1008
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6020.1007

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The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has wiped out amphibians around the globe. New sequencing technologies that have made it affordable to directly decipher all the active genes of a species without doing the extensive, and expensive, presequencing legwork required in the past are now being used on wild populations of the mountain yellow-legged frog, comparing ones that persist despite exposure to the fungus to nonexposed ones that ultimately prove susceptible to it. Results so far suggest that in susceptible frogs, the immune system doesn't go on the defensive; the fungi somehow evades the body's defenses. This story and the ones accompanying it are part of a collection this month reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the publication of the human genome, which is gathered here.