Submission Title

Tracking Nuclear Inclusion X (NIX), a Potential Pathogen of Pacific Razor Clams

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Biology

Description

The Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is an important recreational fishery species that lives in the intertidal zone of sandy beaches from Alaska to central California. Populations have had periodic, but significant, declines over the past 30-40 years. These declines have correlated with an increase in the presence of an intranuclear bacterial parasite known as Nuclear Inclusion X (NIX). We have developed a quick and easy PCR-based screening protocol that streamlines the diagnosis of NIX infection. Razor clam screening along the Oregon and Washington coasts in 2015 revealed a high infection rate, averaging 97%. Screening completed in 2016 indicated the infection rate has declined significantly to an average of 74%, though all sampled locations still had infected clams. Furthermore, PCR screening conducted on sand samples from multiple locations along the Oregon and Washington coasts have identified NIX DNA present in the sand, indicating that NIX may be transmitted environmentally. Interestingly, NIX was found in sand samples both on beaches with and without clam populations, suggesting a longer planktonic period for the NIX bacterium. These clam populations will continue to be monitored in the future to better understand the spread of this potential pathogen.

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Tracking Nuclear Inclusion X (NIX), a Potential Pathogen of Pacific Razor Clams

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

The Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is an important recreational fishery species that lives in the intertidal zone of sandy beaches from Alaska to central California. Populations have had periodic, but significant, declines over the past 30-40 years. These declines have correlated with an increase in the presence of an intranuclear bacterial parasite known as Nuclear Inclusion X (NIX). We have developed a quick and easy PCR-based screening protocol that streamlines the diagnosis of NIX infection. Razor clam screening along the Oregon and Washington coasts in 2015 revealed a high infection rate, averaging 97%. Screening completed in 2016 indicated the infection rate has declined significantly to an average of 74%, though all sampled locations still had infected clams. Furthermore, PCR screening conducted on sand samples from multiple locations along the Oregon and Washington coasts have identified NIX DNA present in the sand, indicating that NIX may be transmitted environmentally. Interestingly, NIX was found in sand samples both on beaches with and without clam populations, suggesting a longer planktonic period for the NIX bacterium. These clam populations will continue to be monitored in the future to better understand the spread of this potential pathogen.