Gypsum caves found throughout the Red Hills of Kansas have the state's most diverse and largest population of cave-roosting bats. White-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which threatens all temperate bat species, has not been previously detected in the gypsum caves as this disease moves westward from the eastern United States. Cave soil was obtained from the gypsum caves, and using the polymerase chain reaction, a 624-nucleotide DNA fragment specific to the Type 1 intron–internal transcribed spacer region of the 18S rRNA gene from Pseudogymnoascus species was amplified. Subsequent cloning and DNA sequencing indicated P. destructans DNA was present, along with 26 uncharacterized Pseudogymnoascus DNA variants. However, no evidence of WNS was observed in bat populations residing in these caves.
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