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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 53:61-66 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao053061

Molecular analysis of a haplosporidian parasite from cultured New Zealand abalone Haliotis iris

Kimberly S. Reece*, Nancy A. Stokes

School of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA

ABSTRACT: In the Austral summer and autumn of 2000 and 2001, mortalities of black-footed abalone Haliotis iris (Martyn, 1784) occurred in a commercial facility in New Zealand. Histological analyses suggested that infection by a haplosporidian parasite was responsible. To confirm identification as a haplosporidian and to help determine if this parasite represented a new, undescribed species, DNA was extracted from infected host tissues scored as positive for infection by histological examination. Small-subunit rRNA (SSU rRNA) gene sequences from both the host abalone and a parasitic organism were amplified by PCR and characterized. Although the sequence for this parasite was novel, not matching any known SSU rRNA gene sequences, phylogenetic analyses strongly supported grouping this parasite with the haplosporidians. Parsimony analyses placed the parasite at the base of the phylum Haplosporidia, ancestral to Urosporidium crescens and the Haplosporidium, Bonamia, and Minchinia species. Sequencing of multiple parasite DNA clones revealed a single polymorphic site in the haplosporidian SSU rRNA gene sequence.

KEY WORDS: Haplosporidian · Abalone · SSU rDNA · Parasite · Molecular phylogenetic

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