PerspectiveConservation

A deadly amphibian disease goes global

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Science  29 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6434, pp. 1386-1388
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax0002

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Summary

Trade routes have shaped human history by connecting distant civilizations, allowing the exchange of materials, technology, and people, but also diseases (1). Pathogens have been frequent hitchhikers, bringing them in contact with new hosts that provide the fuel for epidemic outbreaks of disease. Humans are not the only victims of trade-driven diseases, but scientists have only recently begun to appreciate the risk to biodiversity of inadvertently introducing new pathogens to naïve evolutionary arenas. On page 1459 of this issue, Scheele et al. (2) demonstrate the consequences of globalized pathogen exchange by reconstructing the hidden history of disease-driven declines and extinctions for hundreds of amphibian species.