Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018NJ397B

Rapid, DNA-Based Test for Ranavirus Detection

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,220

Principal Investigators: Allyssa Angel, Nina Goodey

Abstract: Ranavirus is a contagious, widespread pathogen with a high mortality rate known to cause population die offs amongst amphibians, reptiles and fish. Communication to the public in New Jersey regarding the dangers of Ranavirus should be a top management priority as Ranavirus has been recently documented throughout the state, resulting in mass tadpole mortality events. Transmission occurs through direct contact of infected individuals as well as indirect contact of contaminated water and soil, making commercial fisheries an effective source of transmission. Ranavirus has received very little attention in the public and thus, little is known about its origins and means of dispersal to contain its spread. Current detection methods are time-consuming, expensive and require intensive training, slowing researchers’ ability to investigate and communicate about this disease. This project aims to develop a rapid, DNAbased test to detect Ranavirus from samples directly in the field. This test will utilize aptamers, single stranded DNA sequences, specific to Ranavirus virion particles and its major capsid protein as the detection method. Target aptamers will be isolated from an initial library through a process known as, Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX). The select aptamers will be conjugated to gold nanoparticles that will emit a red band in the test strip when bound to Ranavirus elements from field samples. This test will surpass the problems imposed by traditional detection methods and produce substantial data for surveillance of Ranavirus to be communicated to the public to minimize its spread.