Moselio Schaechter

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May 10, 2012

Talmudic Question #87

By John Ingraham

Can you think of a species that has been wiped out by an infectious agent?


chytrid fungus

Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, to be exact.

Elio replies: We actually asked for the disease, not the agent, but your chytrid has been blamed for very serious diseases of amphibians. Extinction? Maybe.

The Tasmanian Devil is dying due to a contagious cancer, but the infectious agent are the tumor cells themselves...

American Chestnut?

How would we know?

The Tasmanian Devil is on its way out.

But really, H. sap. readily jumps to new environments, and the pelts of whole ecosystems hang from our collective belt.

An estimated hundred amphibian species have been wiped out by chytrid fungus, which has hit frogs particularly hard.

How about lack of an infectious agent? In that case I would go with all the protoeukaryotes that were not infected with the protomitochondrion.

The Christmas Island rat is thought to have succumbed to a protozoan that was infecting introduced black rats.

Maybe LUCA? Except, what was doing the infecting? When people say LUCA does that include viruses?

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