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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 49:1-10 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/dao049001

White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) PCR-positive Artemia cysts yield PCR-negative nauplii that fail to transmit WSSV when fed to shrimp postlarvae

Yun-Shiang Chang1, Chu-Fang Lo1,*, Shao-En Peng1, Kuan-Fu Liu2, Chung-Hsiung Wang3, Guang-Hsiung Kou1,*

1Department of Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
2Tung Kang Marine Laboratory, Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute, Tung Kang, Ping Tung, Taiwan, ROC
3Department of Entomology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC
*Corresponding authors. E-mail: or

ABSTRACT: Positive results were obtained with nested white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) diagnostic PCR performed on 5 commercial brands of dry-packed Artemia cysts using several WSSV genomic sequence-specific primers. In 2 brands, PCR and nucleotide sequence analysis found CØT and CØG point mutations in the pms 146 WSSV amplicon, but in all 5 brands, the nucleotide sequences that were successfully amplified by the rr1, rr2 and tk-tmk gene-specific primer sets were identical to those of Penaeus monodon WSSV. However, despite the inarguable presence of WSSV or WSSV-like template DNA, we were unable to detect WSSV by PCR in hatched nauplii derived from PCR-positive cysts or in P. monodon postlarvae fed Artemia nauplii hatched from such cysts. Most simply, these results suggested that the cysts were externally contaminated with WSSV or WSSV-like template material that was removed during hatching and washing of the nauplii. Given the small sequence variations found, it may also have been a variety of WSSV non-infectious for P. monodon or Artemia and derived from other crustaceans or arthropods in the Artemia environment. However, we could not establish this conclusively and a small possibility remained that the PCR template in these tests was derived from WSSV template present internally in the cysts and derived from infected Artemia adults. However small, this possibility must be vigorously tested, given the impact that a positive outcome could have on the shrimp industry.

KEY WORDS: White spot syndrome virus · Brine shrimp · Artemia · Penaeus monodon · WSSV diagnostic PCR · Amplified restriction fragment length polymorphism

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