Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2005-22


Molecular, morphological, and experimental evidence support the synonymy of Perkinsus chesapeaki and Perkinsus andrewsi.




Burreson, EM; Reece, KS; Dungan, CF


Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 52(3):258-270




Diverse analytical and experimental results confirm that two protistan parasites, Perkinsus chesapeaki and Perkinsus andrewsi, described separately as parasites of Mya arenaria and Macoma balthica clams sympatric in Chesapeake Bay, USA, represent a single species. Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions, rRNA large subunit (LSU) gene, and actin gene sequences were obtained from clonal Perkinsus spp. cultured in vitro. Although multiple polymorphic sequences were found in DNA from clonal cultures at each locus, identical ITS region and actin gene sequences were found in the P. andrewsi holotype culture and in Perkinsus sp. clonal cultures from M. arenaria and Tagelus plebius. All sequences determined from cultures of P. chesapeaki and P. andrewsi at each locus grouped together in monophyletic clades with high support values in phylogenetic analyses. In vitro isolates of Perkinsus spp. from M. arenaria and M balthica were reciprocally infective for each other's cognate host. Lesions and histozoic parasite cell morphologies were consistent with those described for the original host/parasite interactions. In vitro isolate cell cycles and cell types of both parasites were indistinguishable. In accordance with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature rules of priority, P. andrewsi is declared a junior synonym of P. chesapeaki.

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