Navigation Links
New genetic test can detect clam disease

A sensitive new genetic test can now detect a crippling disease called QPX occurring in clam beds from Cape Cod south to Virginia and north to Canada. Although it does not affect humans and it is not as well known as red tide, the disease can have a significant impact on a local economy by killing clams and devastating shellfish harvests and commercial aquaculture operations.

QPX - for quahog parasite unknown - is a single-celled organism related to slime mold. It was first detected in 1995 in Provincetown, MA and spread to nearby clam beds, killing nine of ten clams in many of the beds. The disease spreads from clam to clam, infecting the clam by secreting a thick mucus layer to insulate itself from the clam's immune system.

Rebecca Gast, an associate scientist in the Biology Department at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has developed a genetic test to detect the organism not only in clams but in seawater and sediment. Since QPX also decomposes seaweed, researchers now believe it can be found in all coastal waters but doesn't become deadly to clams until it reaches a critical concentration in the water.

Gast notes that although red tide got a lot of media attention this year, QPX is actually a bigger problem. The toxins that cause red tide in clams and other shellfish in New England do not kill the shellfish and will wash away once the red tide bloom diminishes, eventually making the shellfish safe to eat. QPX kills the clams, and there is no known cure.

Gast is working with Roxanna Smolowitz, a veterinarian at the nearby Marine Biological Laboratory, to find out what triggers the organisms to reach concentrations that become deadly, and whether that threshold varies among clam strains. Smolowitz uses traditional microscopic examination of tissues to determine if clams are sick.

Gast's genetic test can now also be used to ensure clams without visible symptoms are not carrying the disease. With the disease sprea ding along the East Coast and no cure, the researchers say the best solution for shellfishermen and aquaculture operations is to keep infection levels as low as possible and try to keep seed clams free of the disease. One possible remedy may be rotating shellfish crops, much like farmers do on land.


Source:Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Related biology news :

1. Its not all genetic: Common epigenetic problem doubles cancer risk in mice
2. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
3. Mouse brain tumors mimic those in human genetic disorder
4. Scientists identify genetic pathways essential to RNA interference
5. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
6. Key mechanism in genetic inheritance during cell division identified
7. Scientists identify genetic pathways essential to RNA interference
8. MUHC scientists describe genetic resistance to rampant virus
9. Mosaic mouse technique offers a powerful new tool to study diseases and genetics
10. Montreal researchers probe the genetic basis of memory
11. Biologists determine genetic blueprint of social amoeba
Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, ... security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate ... ... NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during ... diseases is the primary factor for the growth of ... report: MARKET INSIGHTS The global ... product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, ... ... published on October 5, 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s ... the gold standard, video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , ... October 06, 2017 ... ... in Hi-C-based genomic technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, featuring ... kit and accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution using ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech ... technology sector at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and ... the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational ... is giving back to cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting the advancement of ... 31, shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent off their purchase ...
Breaking Biology Technology: