DNA-based technique for identifying Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes white nose syndrome
New studies by U.S. Forest Service scientists and partners with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin document a DNA-based technique for identifying Geomyces destructans, the fungus causing White-Nose Syndrome in bats. The studies, which will be published in Mycologia in March, describe the complexity of identifying the fungus.
Photo credit: Nancy Heaslip, New York Department of Environmental Conservation
White-Nose Syndrome strikes when bats are hibernating in caves. The cold-loving fungus penetrates tissues of the nose and mouth as well as the wings, which are vital to bats’ ability to avoid dehydration and maintain body temperature.
In addition to colonizing the skin of bats, Geomyces destructans does something very unusual for a fungus -- it penetrates deep into bat’s tissues. The fungus is not known to affect humans or any other mammals.