Research Article

Molecular detection of the pathogenic protist Perkinsus marinus in farmed native and introduced oysters (Crassostrea spp.) in southern Brazil

Published: February 26, 2019
Genet. Mol. Res. 18(1): DOI: 10.4238/gmr18015


The parasitic protozoan Perkinsus marinus (Perkinsidae) is known to infect marine bivalves; unfortunately, treatment options are quite limited. The parasite is associated with mass mortalities worldwide and it requires notification to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In Brazil, since the first report of P. marinus infecting Crassosstrea rhizophorae in the state of Paraíba in 2013, populations of oysters have been subject to continuous surveillance programs by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply for OIE-listed pathogens. Here, we report the first official case of P. marinus detection in native Crassosstrea sp. and in Crassostrea gigas from southern Brazil by PCR followed by sequencing of amplified fragments of the rDNA ITS region. For a better understanding of the epidemiology of P. marinus, we studied the parasite’s phylogenetic intraspecific variability based on its rDNA NTS region by comparisons of our isolates with other isolates from two Mexican regions on the Pacific coast. All Brazilian isolates clustered together with the Mexican isolates. As expected, high similarities were seen between all Brazilian isolates. Additional studies on P. marinus genotyping using new genomic target tools should be conducted for a better understanding of this parasite’s epidemiology.