DAO 94:107-116 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02314

Detection of the oyster herpesvirus in commercial bivalves in northern California, USA: conventional and quantitative PCR

Colleen A. Burge*, Robyn E. Strenge*, Carolyn S. Friedman**

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Box 355020, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA
These 2 authors contributed equally to this work
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The ostreid herpesvirus (OsHV-1) and related oyster herpesviruses (OsHV) are associated with world-wide mortalities of larval and juvenile bivalves. To quantify OsHV viral loads in mollusc tissues, we developed a SYBR® Green quantitative PCR (qPCR) based on the A-region of the OsHV-1 genome. Reaction efficiency and precision were demonstrated using a plasmid standard curve. The analytical sensitivity is 1 copy per reaction. We collected Crassostrea gigas, C. sikamea, C. virginica, Ostrea edulis, O. lurida, Mytilus galloprovincialis, and Venerupis phillipinarum from Tomales Bay (TB), and C. gigas from Drakes Estero (DE), California, USA, and initially used conventional PCR (cPCR) to test for presence of OsHV DNA. Subsequently, viral loads were quantified in selected samples of all tested bivalves except O. lurida. Copy numbers were low in each species tested but were significantly greater in C. gigas (p < 0.0001) compared to all other species, suggesting a higher level of infection. OsHV DNA was detected with cPCR and/or qPCR and confirmed by sequencing in C. gigas, C. sikamea, C. virginica, O. edulis, M. galloprovincialis, and V. phillipinarum from TB and C. gigas from DE. These data indicate that multiple bivalve species may act as reservoirs for OsHV in TB. A lack of histological abnormalities in potential reservoirs requires alternative methods for their identification. Further investigation is needed to determine the host–parasite relationship for each potential reservoir, including characterization of viral loads and their relationship with infection (via in situ hybridization), assessments of mortality, and host responses.


KEY WORDS: Oyster herpesvirus · Tomales Bay · Drakes Estero · California · Quantitative ­polymerase chain reaction


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Cite this article as: Burge CA, Strenge RE, Friedman CS (2011) Detection of the oyster herpesvirus in commercial bivalves in northern California, USA: conventional and quantitative PCR. Dis Aquat Org 94:107-116. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02314

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