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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 54:61-67 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/dao054061

Cell-free transmission of a haemic neoplasm in the cockle Cerastoderma edule

Catherine M. Collins1,2,*, Maire F. Mulcahy1

1National University of Ireland (UCC), Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology, Lee Maltings, Prospect Row, Cork, Ireland
2Present address: Fisheries Research Services Marine Laboratory, Victoria Road, Torry, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, Scotland, UK

ABSTRACT: A haemic neoplasm occurs in populations of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule L. along the coast of Ireland. The morphology, epizootiology and distribution of the disease have previously been described. The aetiology of the neoplasm is unknown. In this study transmission of the neoplasm between cockles was accomplished using both whole neoplastic cells and neoplastic cell-free homogenates which were filtered through 0.45 µm Millipore filters. Successful transmission of the disease has been achieved by both methods. These results indicate that the neoplasm in cockles may have a viral aetiology. Whole neoplastic cell inoculation resulted in a higher level of disease development compared to that of cell-free inoculates. The survival rates of the inoculated groups were compared and a significant decrease in survival was found in those groups which developed the disease.

KEY WORDS: Cerastoderma edule · Neoplasm · Cell-free transmission

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