Development of the point-of-need detection assay for the invasive Mediterranean fanworm
The DETECT team of the Marine Biosecurity Toolbox programme is committed to equip researchers, biosecurity practitioners and prospective citizen scientists with rapid, efficient and user-friendly molecular tools for marine biosecurity surveillance. Thus, Martin Zirngibl is currently leading the development of a point-of-need assay for detecting the invasive Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii from environmental samples. Basis of the new assay will be recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) and the readout will be via lateral flow detection (Figure 1).Figure 1: Overview of the design and validation of the newly developed assay
Primers specific to Sabella spallanzanii were designed and tested with RPA approach. The primers that produced single strong bands on the gel were tested for specificity with three other closely related polychaetes. In order to make the newly designed assay usable in the field without requiring electricity, amplification was tested while holding the reaction tube in the hand. In the future, the assay will be transferred to read-out with a lateral flow stick.
In February 2020, our postdoc Ulla von Ammon embarked the Robert C. Seamans sailing ship to collect samples for comparing different sampling approaches. The first results of this study were recently presented at the DNAQUA International Conference.
We have started to employ modelling approaches to better understand and predict the dispersal of eDNA in the marine environment. Learn about our first field sampling campaign for testing whether the developed model can robustly predict where and when in the tidal cycle eDNA can be detected.