Scientists have found the culprit virus that caused the deaths of millions of starfish along the Pacific coast in recent years.
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A new article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has published the results of a study on a starfish virus.
They are confirmed as Sea Star Associated Densovirus (SSaDV) - the culprit that killed millions of coastal starfish from Baja, California to southern Alaska. This is a virus belonging to the parvovirus family, found in the backbone and gene segments of dead starfish victims .
In particular, SSaDV is the first virus to be found to cause disease on starfish.
Close up of an individual starfish infected with the virus is dying
Initially, the search for the virus was almost "fumbling" by expert Ian Hewson, ' there are about 10 million different viruses in just one seawater'.
Fortunately, SSaDV virus is found in some starfish specimens from 1942, 1980, 1987 and 1991. In addition, seawater, plankton, sediments, sea urchins also show signs. Traces of this virus.
Thus, biologists can identify the killer virus. According to them, in fact, the virus has been causing diseases on starfish for a long time, but because it does not cause a large-scale outbreak at present, it is often not considered.
In terms of attack mechanism, SSaDV when invading the starfish body will cause all internal organs of this species to be destroyed and escaped through the skin.
The inevitable consequence is the death of one of the ocean's famous predators, especially in tidal areas.
Co-author of the study - Drew Harvell - professor of ecology and evolutionary biology confirms that starfish is one of the most important species (keystone specie) in maintaining marine ecosystem stability. both. So, finding SSaDV virus is 'discovering the century of marine ecologists'.
David Garrison, director of the US Oceanic Science Research Foundation, said: 'This study is a very fast response of the scientific community, making a significant contribution to understanding the disease that is killing the goods. millions of starfish in America '.