Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health

Fish & Crayfish

Crayfish plague genotyping

Crayfish plague, caused by Aphanomyces astaci, is responsible for the decline and extinction of native crayfish populations in Switzerland and Europe. The disease is listed as reportable disease in Switzerland. A. astaci was introduced from North American crayfish imports which do not show disease signs. Five genotypes (A, B, C, D and E) are described, showing different virulence in European crayfish.

The aim of the project is to optimize and complement current diagnostic methods used at FIWI by testing and establishing state-of-the art methods for identification of A. astaci genotypes.

Knowledge about distribution of genotypes (from tissue samples and by eDNA from water samples) will help to understand past, present and future spread scenarios. The new protocols will also allow to predict outcome scenarios of crayfish plague outbreaks and molecular epidemiology of the disease in Switzerland.

Project lead: Simone Pisano, Heike Schmidt-Posthaus