The fan mussel Pinna nobilis is an emblematic marine bivalve endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. This species is being worryingly impacted by a mass mortality event caused by a haplosporidian parasite (Haplosporidium pinnae).

This study aimed to develop species-specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) protocol to carry out a fast, specific and effective molecular diagnose of H. pinnae.

The obtained results show that 94% of the 32 analysed P. nobilis mantle tissues were infected by H. pinnae, thus, according to the authors, showing a high sensitivity and specificity for its detection.

The authors highlight that the described protocol presents the advantages of high sensitivity and high specificity, and that it is reliable for a rapid screening to detect the presence of the pathogen from very small mantle samples, including from the biopsy of alive but potentially infected individuals, or to determine the relative abundance in the environment, such as in water samples in the field.

The authors state that this technique will allow to make quicker follow-ups of the disease, allowing to obtain a better understanding of its evolution in order to help the species in front of this worrying disease.

López-Sanmartin et al. (2019)Real-Time PCR based test for the early diagnosis of Haplosporidium pinnae affecting fan mussel Pinna nobilis. PLoS ONE 14:e0212028.