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ABSTRACT: A Thai PCR detection method (WSSV-232) yielding a 232 bp amplicon has been used for detection of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) since 1996. It targets ORF 91 in the full sequence of the only Thai WSSV isolate at GenBank (AF369029). At the beginning of 2002, some Thai shrimp farmers complained that ponds stocked with WSSV-232 PCR negative post-larvae (PL) later suffered WSSV disease outbreaks. Although these outbreaks may have resulted from horizontal transmission of WSSV after stocking, it was also possible that they resulted from false negative PCR test results due to genetic changes at the PCR-assay target after the first appearance of WSSV in Thailand in 1995. Indeed, recent results have revealed at least 12 WSSV variants in Thailand that can be distinguished based on differences in DNA multiple repeat lengths in ORF 94 (GenBank AF369029). To test for variation in the WSSV-232 target sequence in ORF 91, 20 DNA extracts derived from field samples and representing 9 of the WSSV DNA multiple repeat groups were subjected to PCR amplification and sequencing using primers that generated a 403 bp amplicon covering the target for the WSSV-232 assay. An additional three repeat types were included from archived material. Analysis revealed that the 232 bp target sequence in ORF 91 was unchanged in all of the 12 types tested and that the original WSSV-232 detection system was still valid. Thus, any false negative PCR test results leading to farmer complaints would probably have arisen from small sample sizes and low sensitivity of the single-step PCR assay. If so, false negative results could be reduced by the use of nested PCR assays with larger PL sample sizes. .