GMGI, University of Arizona CRISPR Research Published in Scientific Journal

In May, GMGI researchers’ manuscript Rapid detection of DNA and RNA shrimp viruses using CRISPR-based diagnostics was accepted to the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The paper describes the successful development of two new and improved rapid laboratory tests that detect two common and globally impactful viruses in shrimp aquaculture, the Taura Syndrome Virus and White Spot Syndrome Virus. These viruses can quickly and unexpectedly decimate aquaculture crops, costing the aquaculture industry billions of dollars yearly.

GMGI collaborated with Dr. Arun Dhar and Dr. Roberto Cruz-Flores at the Aquatic Pathology Lab at the University of Arizona on this project, which began in 2021. The team converted an older version of WSSV CRISPR diagnostic developed in the lab in 2019 by GMGI’s Dr. Tim Sullivan, to next-generation CRISPR technology, developed the assay for an RNA virus (TSV), and rigorously validated two new assays.

The team is excited to continue the development of the WSSV diagnostic together with our collaborators at Sherlock Biosciences supported by new (USDA) funding. The next step for the team is to convert the laboratory test into a commercially-viable, hand-held portable diagnostic (similar to a rapid covid test) that can be used for routine pond-side monitoring to improve disease management and save the aquaculture industry millions of dollars from revenue lost to disease outbreaks.