DAO 93:243-250 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02301

Sequence homogeneity of internal transcribed spacer rDNA in Mikrocytos mackini and detection of Mikrocytos sp. in a new location

Cathryn L. Abbott*, Scott R. Gilmore, Geoff Lowe, Gary Meyer, Susan Bower

Pacific Biological Station, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9T 6N7, Canada

ABSTRACT: Mikrocytos mackini is a microcell parasite of Pacific oysters only known to occur on the Pacific coast of North America. It is the only described species in the genus, although a genetically divergent Mikrocytos sp. organism has been reported once in both the Atlantic Ocean and China. We developed methods for sequencing the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of rDNA for the purpose of characterizing extant diversity within M. mackini throughout its known geographic range, and surveying for other evidence of Mikrocytos sp. organisms. Our specific aims were to examine relatedness of M. mackini among sites to make inferences about its recent evolutionary history, and to provide baseline data for future development of a species-specific molecular detection method. We found a total lack of genetic variation within M. mackini across the complete ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 array in over 70 samples collected throughout its range. We hypothesize that this could be a result of a founder effect if the parasite had been introduced into its known range alongside its host, which was imported from Asia beginning around 1914 to about 1961. We detected a single divergent sequence at a short stretch of 18S that was identical to the Mikrocytos sp. detected elsewhere, which adds to the recent and growing body of evidence that Mikrocytos is much more broadly distributed than the limited range of M. mackini suggests. A 1903 bp section of rDNA from Mikrocytos sp. was generated that contained regions of high divergence from M. mackini (in ITS1 and ITS2) that could be exploited for molecular diagnostics.


KEY WORDS: Microcell oyster parasite · Pacific oyster · Denman Island disease · Mikrocytosis · Genetic diversity · Internal transcribed spacer


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Cite this article as: Abbott CL, Gilmore SR, Lowe G, Meyer G, Bower S (2011) Sequence homogeneity of internal transcribed spacer rDNA in Mikrocytos mackini and detection of Mikrocytos sp. in a new location. Dis Aquat Org 93:243-250. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02301

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