Bacteria living on the skin of frogs could save them from a deadly virus, new research suggests.
Ranavirus kills large numbers of European common frogs – the species most often seen in UK ponds – and is one of many threats facing amphibians worldwide.
Scientists from the University of Exeter and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology compared the bacteria living on frogs – known as their “microbiome” – from groups with varying history of ranavirus.
They found that populations with a history of outbreaks had a “distinct” skin microbiome when compared to those where no outbreaks had occurred.
“Whether a population of frogs becomes diseased might depend on the species of bacteria living on their skin,” said Dr Lewis Campbell.
“Ranavirus is widespread, but its presence in the environment doesn’t necessarily mean frogs become diseased – there appears to be some other factor that determines this.
“The skin is often the first infection point in ranavirus, and the first stage of the disease can be skin sores.
“It’s possible that the structure of a frog’s microbiome – the mix of bacteria on its skin – can inhibit the growth and spread of the virus so it can’t reach a level that causes disease.
“While the results of our study demonstrate a clear link between the frog skin microbiome and disease, further research will be need to understand the exact mechanisms which cause this relationship to form.”
Laboratory trials will help establish whether a history of ranavirus infection causes the microbiome differences, or whether these are pre-existing differences that predispose some populations to infection.
The scientists tested the skin bacteria of more than 200 wild adult European common frogs (Rana temporaria) from ten populations.
They found that the microbiome of individual frogs is usually most similar to that of others in the same population (those living in the same geographical area), but that populations with the same disease history were more similar to each other than to populations of the opposite disease history.
Even though amphibians can partially “curate” their microbiome by producing proteins that benefit specific bacteria, they are limited to those bacteria which are available in their environment.
Ranavirus can wipe out entire common frog populations and, though the new findings need further investigation, the researchers hope their work could help the species.
Dr Xavier Harrison said: “There’s growing evidence that skin bacteria may protect amphibians from lethal pathogens such as chytrid fungus, and that we can develop cocktails of probiotic bacteria to prevent vulnerable individuals from contracting disease.
“Our work suggests that given enough effort and research, similar probiotic therapies may be effective against ranavirus.”
Learn more: Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus
The Latest on: Frogs
via Google News
The Latest on: Frogs
- The Frogs Announce Unreleased New LPon January 21, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Today, Jimmy Flemion of The Frogs share, "Hellsville Baby" the first track off of their upcoming album "1st" out April 5th via End of All Music. The single was premiered and the album was announced ...
- Fanged frogs, dwarf crocodiles and folding tortoises? Welcome to West Africaon January 21, 2020 at 7:32 am
Forget the peculiar creatures populating the pages of Alice in Wonderland. This is your chance to follow in the footsteps of the intrepid explorers who have just delved deep into a West African ...
- Xenobot: The world’s first living machines, built with frogson January 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Xenobots have been created from the cell of the African clawed frog, that can move around on their own. Scientists in the United States have created the world’s first “living machines” — tiny robots ...
- 5 departures that will hurt TCU football: Horned Frogs have gaping holes to fillon January 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm
And that might be true for TCU. But due early draft entry or graduation, the Horned Frogs will have to plug holes in their roster on both sides of the ball. There aren’t clear replacements for many of ...
- MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: Fire Frogs will play in North Porton January 16, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Major League Baseball approved CoolToday Stadium, spring training home of the Braves, in North Port as the 2020 home for the Florida State League’s Florida Fire Frogs, according to Baseball America.
- Florida Fire Frogs To Play At Braves' North Port Facility In 2020on January 16, 2020 at 4:58 am
The Florida Fire Frogs finally have a (temporary) home. Minor League Baseball has approved the Fire Frogs to play at the Braves new North Port facility for the 2020 season. The decision gives some ...
- Mountaineers Gig Frogs 81-49on January 15, 2020 at 4:54 pm
TCU's (12-4, 3-1) R.J. Nembhard led all scorers for the Horned Frogs, ending the contest with 14 points. The Mountaineers' offense turned in one of its best performances of the year, converting on ...
- Shy Scorpions and Moody Frogson January 14, 2020 at 4:21 pm
There’s an old fable, told by many therapists and analysts, which paints a bleak picture of our ability to change who we are and how we act. The story tells of an unlikely encounter, on a river’s edge ...
- Robot BREAKTHROUGH: Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first ‘living robots’on January 14, 2020 at 3:27 am
A team of US scientists have created the first ever living machines after placing stem cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots. The major breakthrough in robotic creations allows the machines ...
- Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first living robotson January 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm
Researchers foresee myriad benefits for humanity, but also acknowledge ethical issues ...
via Bing News