In the fight against Asian carp, a new weapon: pathogens
MAISRC researchers Sunil Mor and Nick Phelps recently collected and examined samples of Common, Bighead, and Silver carp from Minnesota and Illinois. These samples were screened to determine the virome – the picture of all the viruses that inhabit a particular organism – in order to identify any unique opportunities for control.
Using a genome sequencing technique called Illumina MiSeq, researchers identified two novel viruses from common carp and grass carp mortality events: novel picornavirus and novel paramyxovirus. Additionally, they identified the first report of Grass Carp Reovirus (GCRV) associated with fish mortality in the United States. Divergent picornaviruses, reovirus, hepevirus and nodavirus were also detected in Common carp, and hepevirus was detected in the Silver carp samples.
Establishing and understanding what novel viruses are circulating in invasive carp will provide important baseline information in order to select a species-specific pathogen that could be introduced or promoted to act as a biocontrol.
The concept of using viruses as a biocontrol is gaining popularity throughout the world, most recently in Australia where Koi Herpes Virus is being considered for common carp control. This research is proceeding with a high level of caution since protecting native species and promoting ecosystem health is a top priority for MAISRC. Learn more about Asian carp research here and hear from lead researcher Sunil Kumar Mor at the 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Research and Management Showcase.