Shrimp Testing

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Polymerase Chain Reaction

Diseases with a known DNA sequence can be identified by a rapid, non-sacrificial and highly specific diagnostic test known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This is a technique in molecular biology which amplifies single or a few copies of a piece of DNA by several orders of magnitude, generating millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. The method relies on repeated cycles of heating and cooling. During each heating cycle, each double strand of DNA separates and is replicated by the polymerase enzyme, effectively doubling the number of DNA copies.


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Histopathology

Where the DNA sequence of a pathogen is unknown or where general evaluation of the health status of an animal is needed, histopathology is a method of choice. This involves sacrificing a subsample of shrimp, fixing the tissues, preparing thin sections of tissue that are approximately one cell thick, mounting these sections on slides, staining the sections to highlight certain cellular organelles, and examining them under a microscope to identify disease lesions.


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Microbiology

Where a bacterial disease is suspected, samples of the bacteria can be drawn from the hemolymph or tissues to culture on various artificial media. This allows identification of the bacteria and determination of its sensitivity to various therapeutants.

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