Evolutionary trajectory of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) genome shrinkage during spread in Asia

M.P. Zwart, Bui Thi Minh Dieu, L. Hemerik, J.M. Vlak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background - White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is the sole member of the novel Nimaviridae family, and the source of major economic problems in shrimp aquaculture. WSSV appears to have rapidly spread worldwide after the first reported outbreak in the early 1990s. Genomic deletions of various sizes occur at two loci in the WSSV genome, the ORF14/15 and ORF23/24 variable regions, and these have been used as molecular markers to study patterns of viral spread over space and time. We describe the dynamics underlying the process of WSSV genome shrinkage using empirical data and a simple mathematical model. Methodology/Principal Findings - We genotyped new WSSV isolates from five Asian countries, and analyzed this information together with published data. Genome size appears to stabilize over time, and deletion size in the ORF23/24 variable region was significantly related to the time of the first WSSV outbreak in a particular country. Parameter estimates derived from fitting a simple mathematical model of genome shrinkage to the data support a geometric progression (k
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13400
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • litopenaeus-vannamei
  • population-genetics
  • shrimp aquaculture
  • in-vivo
  • adaptation
  • dna
  • virulence
  • reduction
  • quantification
  • transmission

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