Presentation Title

Resistance to Ranavirus Disease in Tadpoles

Project Collaborators

Lauren Ash (Graduate Student Mentor)

Abstract

Once thought to not be present in Vermont, the deadly disease, Ranavirus, has recently been detected in water bodies across the Champlain Basin. This disease has a very high lethality in wood frogs, and could have large impacts on the Champlain ecosystem if not researched properly. The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a large component of the immune system, and likely plays a part in tadpole resistance to this virus. Our goal is to determine whether tadpoles that show heterozygosity within this complex display greater resistance to this virus. We predict that tadpoles displaying heterozygosity will increase their survival upon exposure to Ranavirus. To perform this lab, wood frog tadpoles were caught in the Champlain Basin and experimentally exposed to Ranavirus. DNA was then extracted and amplified to analyze their MHC gene structure. While we are still in the process of amplifying the extracted tadpole DNA, the results we might gain from this research could be extremely important in future conservation efforts, both for the frogs and for the entirety of the Champlain ecosystem

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Lori Stevens

Graduate Student Mentors

Lauren Ash

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Spanish

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Resistance to Ranavirus Disease in Tadpoles

Once thought to not be present in Vermont, the deadly disease, Ranavirus, has recently been detected in water bodies across the Champlain Basin. This disease has a very high lethality in wood frogs, and could have large impacts on the Champlain ecosystem if not researched properly. The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is a large component of the immune system, and likely plays a part in tadpole resistance to this virus. Our goal is to determine whether tadpoles that show heterozygosity within this complex display greater resistance to this virus. We predict that tadpoles displaying heterozygosity will increase their survival upon exposure to Ranavirus. To perform this lab, wood frog tadpoles were caught in the Champlain Basin and experimentally exposed to Ranavirus. DNA was then extracted and amplified to analyze their MHC gene structure. While we are still in the process of amplifying the extracted tadpole DNA, the results we might gain from this research could be extremely important in future conservation efforts, both for the frogs and for the entirety of the Champlain ecosystem