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11 February 2019 An Emerging Amphibian Infection as a Model for Teaching Phylogenetic Reconstruction
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Abstract

Phylogenetic analysis and interpretation can be challenging for many students, but emerging infections can provide a rich tapestry for addressing these topics while maintaining student interest. Ranaviruses are a group of emerging infections in amphibians that have been associated with morbidity and mortality events around the globe. They have also been implicated in population declines and local extirpations of some amphibian species. Many ranaviruses have been subject to intense study by scientists as they seek to understand the impacts of these viruses on a variety of ectothermic animals. A large amount of sequence data is available on GenBank and is easily accessible for students to use to study phylogenetic relationships between different viral species, strains, and isolates. This article examines the general process of obtaining sequence data, sequence alignments, and tree building by using databases, servers, and computer programs that are freely available to all high school and undergraduate students and their instructors. Providing students with a guided framework for exploring their own questions with respect to the evolutionary relationships of ranaviruses can produce some very unique and thought-provoking results.

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Amanda L. J. Duffus "An Emerging Amphibian Infection as a Model for Teaching Phylogenetic Reconstruction," The American Biology Teacher 81(1), 32-39, (11 February 2019). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2019.81.1.32
Published: 11 February 2019
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