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A newly developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method to rapidly and specifically detect Geomyces destructans on the wings of infected bats from small quantities (1-2 mg) of tissue is described in the current study (methods for culturing and isolating G. destructans from bat skin are also described). The lower limits of detection for PCR were 5 fg of purified fungal DNA or 100 conidia per 2 mg of wing tissue. By using histology as the standard, the PCR had a diagnostic specificity of 100% and a diagnostic sensitivity of 96%, whereas the diagnostic sensitivity of culture techniques was only 54%. The accuracy and fast turnaround time of PCR provides field biologists with valuable information on infection status more rapidly than traditional methods, and the small amount of tissue required for the test would allow diagnosis of white-nose syndrome in live animals.
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Rapid polymerase chain reaction diagnosis of white-nose syndrome in bats