New research by Daniel Lindner, a research plant pathologist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Center for Forest Mycology Research in Madison and colleague Andrew Minnis might help shed some light on the white-nose syndrome and the devastating effects its had on bat populations across the eastern United States.
Minnis and Lindner analyzed the DNA of the fungus behind white-nose syndrome and found that it has no close genetic relatives in North America. Their results add to the evidence that the fungus is an invasive species, and comparing its genome to related fungi should help scientists develop a better idea of how the fungus works and how they might counter its spread.
The goal, Lindner said, is to “figure out the molecular tool kit that the fungus is using to be so deadly to bats.”
Once researchers understand the molecular processes the fungus uses they can develop specific strategies to counter it, which might be drugs, vaccines or other species of bacteria and fungi that help protect the bats.