Infectivity and pathogenicity of recently described Perkinsus species present in the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica

Principal Investigator:

Gerardo R. Vasta

Start/End Year:

2003 - 2006


Center of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute

Co-Principal Investigator:

Jose A. Fernandez-Robledo, Center of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute



The aim of the proposed initiative is to continue our characterization of the infectivity and pathogenicity of recently described Perkinsus species for eastern oysters, relative to that of P. marinus. Our lab and others have identified and characterized new Perkinsus species and strains that maybe present in the eastern oyster. We are currently using molecular probes we developed and validated, for the assessment of epizootics in oysters and clams in the Chesapeake Bay and the northeastern coast of USA. Once the distribution of these Perkinsus species is revealed, it is critical to determine if they are equally capable to produce a "Dermo"-like disease. Field and laboratory observations suggest that not all Perkinsus species are equally pathogenic for the host, and rigorous studies should be conducted to elucidate this problem. This information is critical for the decision making process concerning oyster seed and marketable stocks for both oyster farmers and regulatory agencies.

Related Publications:

Fernandez-Robledo, JA; Lin, Z; Vasta, GR. 2008. Transfection of the protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology157(1):44 -53. doi:10.1016/j.molbiopara.2007.09.007. UM-SG-RS-2008-20.

Schott, EJ; Pecher, WT; Okafor, F; Vasta, GR. 2003. The protistan parasite Perkinsus marinus is resistant to selected reactive oxygen species. Experimental Parasitology105(34):232 -240. doi:10.1016/j.exppara.2003.12.012. UM-SG-RS-2003-17.

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