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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 128:235-248 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03224

Assessment of intra-specific variability in Saprolegnia parasitica populations of aquaculture facilities in British Columbia, Canada

Paul Y. de la Bastide*, Cayla Naumann, William E. Hintz

Department of Biology, Centre for Forest Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Among the Saprolegnia species found in aquaculture facilities, S. parasitica is recognized as the primary fish pathogen and remains an ongoing concern in fish health management. Until recently, these pathogens were kept in check by use of malachite green; due to its toxicity, this chemical has now been banned from use in many countries. It is difficult to predict and control S. parasitica outbreaks in freshwater systems and there is a need to understand the population genetic structure of this pathogen. Genetic characterization of this species in aquaculture systems would provide information to track introductions and determine possible sources of inoculum. Degenerate PCR primers containing short sequence repeats were used to create microsatellite-associated genetic markers (random amplified microsatellites) for the comparison of S. parasitica isolates collected primarily from commercial Atlantic salmon aquaculture systems in British Columbia, Canada, over a 15 mo period to describe their spatial and temporal variability. The frequencies of amplified products were compared and the population genetic diversity was measured using Nei’s genetic distance and Shannon’s information index, while the species population structure was evaluated by phylogenetic analysis. S. parasitica was detected in all facilities sampled. Genetic diversity was low but not clonal, most likely due to repeated introduction events and a low level of sexual recombination over time. A better understanding of pathogen population structure will assist the development of effective preventative measures and targeted treatments for disease outbreaks.


KEY WORDS: Oomycete · Salmo salar · Saprolegniosis · Microsatellites · Aquaculture


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Cite this article as: de la Bastide PY, Naumann C, Hintz WE (2018) Assessment of intra-specific variability in Saprolegnia parasitica populations of aquaculture facilities in British Columbia, Canada. Dis Aquat Org 128:235-248. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03224

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