Alike many fungal diseases affecting species worldwide, there is no known solution for most of these diseases. Since wiping out a fungal species could create more problems for the surrounding ecosystem, geneticists plan to genetically weaken the fungus to allow the species to eventually build an immunity to it. The easily sequenced and easy to grow Pseudogymnoascus destructans makes it a great model for this worldwide epidemic.
Less virulent strains of the fungus can be genetically modified using RNAi or CRISPR. Another strategy is going to be creating a virus to infect the fungus, called a mycovirus, and in turn reduce its fitness. Experiments are currently underway by the scientists over at Revive & Restore to choose the most successful strain of the fungus to then be deployed at hibernation sites. The severity of the white-nose syndrome will then be monitored over time to see the conclusive effects of this strategy.
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This research caught my eye because not only do I really enjoy acts towards the conservation of living organisms, but for it to be done genetically in a way that conserves the organisms on both ends of this fight to create a peaceful solution is really awesome to me. The evolution of genomics is increasing at such a great slope and I'm excited to see where it will take us in the field of health and wellness for all living organisms. I also am really looking forward to hearing about what comes of the current research presented in this article.