Ranaviruses are pathogens of reptiles, amphibians and fish causing mass mortality and species decline. In the UK, common frogs have been experiencing this since the late 1980s and novel lineages are emerging across Europe in a variety of amphibian and reptile species.
Our recent analysies of virus genomes have detected multiple changes that may be responsible for the evolution of viral virulence. The project will exploit Illumina NGS, multilocus sequencing and Bionano Irys optical mapping technologies to investigate the evolution of virulence and host range of viruses isolated from UK and European native species, non-natives, and animals in the trade.
Hypotheses generated from genomic data can be tested in a variety of amphibian experimental systems. Specific questions will be generated with supervisors, which include Francois Balloux and Stephen Price at UCL