Rapid Detection of White Spot Syndrome Virus and Taura Syndrome Virus in Shrimp

At GMGI, we are adapting technology developed by researchers at MIT and the Broad Institute and working with researchers at the University of Arizona to create low cost, highly sensitive, field-deployable tests that can detect minute quantities of viruses and other pathogens of aquatic animals within hours, instead of days or weeks. While this approach can be applied to a wide range of diseases that affect finfish and shellfish, our initial focus is on the Pacific white shrimp Penaeus vannamei, which is the most successful crustacean aquaculture species with a value estimated at $15 billion USD per year. However, domestic and global shrimp production is routinely impacted by disease, resulting substantial financial losses. The ability to detect pathogens early and to efficiently contain outbreaks promises to have a significant positive impact on global aquaculture practices that will increase profitability, but also sustainability.

Two of the most devastating viral pathogens for shrimp aquaculture are White Spot Syndrome and Taura Syndrome. With support from a grant from the USDA, GMGI has adapted the CRISPR-based SHERLOCK method to develop a rapid and accurate detection test for the White Spot Syndrome Virus1. The technology has been adapted to work in the field without any molecular expertise or equipment, yielding results in hours. The application of this test to shrimp aquaculture practices can limit disease, increase sustainability, and maximize production to meet the needs of a growing global population. At GMGI, we are currently producing a similar test for the Taura Syndrome Virus.

  1. Sullivan, T.J., Dhar, A.K., Cruz-Florez, R. and Bodnar, A.G. (2019) Rapid, CRISPR-based, field-deployable detection of White Spot Syndrome Virus in shrimp. Sci Rep 9, 19702 doi:10.1038/s41598-019-56170-y https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56170-y
  2. Major, S.R., Harke, M.J., Cruz-Flores, R., Dhar, A.K., Bodnar, A.G. and SA Wanamaker. (2023) Rapid detection of DNA and RNA shrimp viruses using CRISPR-based diagnostics. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 0:e02151-02122. https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/aem.02151-22

Principal Investigator: Dr. Shelly Wanamaker