Genetic variation among isolates of White Spot Syndrome Virus

H. Marks, R.W. Goldbach, J.M. Vlak, M.C.W. van Hulten

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White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), member of a. new virus family called Nimaviridae, is a major scourge in worldwide shrimp, cultivation. Geographical isolates of WSSV identified so far are very similar in morphology and proteome, and show little difference in restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern. We have mapped the genomic differences between three completely sequenced WSSV isolates, originating from Thailand (WSSV-TH), China (WSSV-CN) and Taiwan (WSSV-TW). Alignment of the genomic sequences of these geographical isolates revealed an overall nucleotide identity of 99.32%. The major difference among the three isolates is a deletion of approximately 13 kb (WSSV-TH) and 1 kb (WSSV-CN), present in the same genomic region, relative to WSSV-TW. A second difference involves a genetically variable region of about 750 bp. All other variations >2 bp between the three isolates are located in repeat regions along the genome. Except for the homologous regions (hrl, hr3, hr8 and hr9), these variable repeat regions are almost exclusively located in ORFs, of which the genomic repeat regions in ORF75, ORF94 and ORF125 can be used for PCR based classification of WSSV isolates in epidemiological studies. Furthermore, the comparison identified highly invariable genomic loci, which may be used for reliable monitoring of WSSV infections and for shrimp health certification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-697
JournalArchives of Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • nuclear polyhedrosis-virus
  • major structural proteins
  • polymerase-chain-reaction
  • monoclonal-antibodies
  • envelope protein
  • penaeus-monodon
  • genome sequence
  • dna-sequences
  • syndrome wsbv
  • shrimp


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