DAO 54:69-72 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054069

Detection of marine birnavirus genome in zooplankton collected from the Uwa Sea, Japan

Shin-Ichi Kitamura, Shin-Ichiro Kamata, Shin-Ichi Nakano, Satoru Suzuki*

Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, Matsuyama 790-8577, Japan
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Marine birnaviruses (MABVs) infect a wide range of fish and shellfish, yet their mode of transmission is still unclear. To determine whether marine plankton serve as a vector for MABVs, we examined plankton collected from the Uwa Sea, Japan. The phytoplankton and zooplankton were collected monthly, at depths of 0 and 40 m, from May to November 2001. Detection of the MABV genome was carried out using 2-step PCR and virus isolation. Viral genome was detected in zooplankton collected at 0 m depth in September and at 40 m depth in November. The virus could not be isolated in the PCR-positive samples. These results suggest that zooplankton may act as a vector of MABVs, although the infective and/or accumulated virus titer in zooplankton was low.


KEY WORDS: Birnavirus · Plankton · Reservoir · Vector · Uwa Sea


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