Pinning down a polymorphic parasite: New genetic and morphological descriptions of Eimeria macropodis from the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)

Nichola J. Hill, Carolin Richter, Michelle L. Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Identification of the protozoan parasite, Eimeria has traditionally relied on oocyst morphology, host range and life-cycle attributes. However, it is increasingly recognized that Eimeria species can vary in size and shape across their host range, an attribute known as 'polymorphism' that presents a unique challenge for identification. Advances in molecular tools hold promise for characterising Eimeria that may otherwise be misclassified based on morphology. Our study used morphologic and molecular traits of the oocyst life stage to identify a polymorphic parasite, Eimeria macropodis in a captive Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) population in Australia. Molecular characterization highlighted the need to use multiple genetic markers (18S SSU and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) to accurately identify E. macropodis owing to heterozygous alleles at the 18S SSU locus. This study provided an opportunity to assess the utility and shortcomings of morphologic and molecular techniques for 'pinning down' a polymorphic species. Moreover, our study was able to place E. macropodis in an evolutionary context and enhance resolution of the under-studied marsupial clade.

LanguageEnglish
Pages461-465
Number of pages5
JournalParasitology International
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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Macropodidae
Eimeria
Parasites
Oocysts
Host Specificity
Marsupialia
Electron Transport Complex IV
Life Cycle Stages
Genetic Markers
Alleles
Population

Cite this

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title = "Pinning down a polymorphic parasite: New genetic and morphological descriptions of Eimeria macropodis from the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)",
abstract = "Identification of the protozoan parasite, Eimeria has traditionally relied on oocyst morphology, host range and life-cycle attributes. However, it is increasingly recognized that Eimeria species can vary in size and shape across their host range, an attribute known as 'polymorphism' that presents a unique challenge for identification. Advances in molecular tools hold promise for characterising Eimeria that may otherwise be misclassified based on morphology. Our study used morphologic and molecular traits of the oocyst life stage to identify a polymorphic parasite, Eimeria macropodis in a captive Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) population in Australia. Molecular characterization highlighted the need to use multiple genetic markers (18S SSU and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) to accurately identify E. macropodis owing to heterozygous alleles at the 18S SSU locus. This study provided an opportunity to assess the utility and shortcomings of morphologic and molecular techniques for 'pinning down' a polymorphic species. Moreover, our study was able to place E. macropodis in an evolutionary context and enhance resolution of the under-studied marsupial clade.",
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Pinning down a polymorphic parasite : New genetic and morphological descriptions of Eimeria macropodis from the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii). / Hill, Nichola J.; Richter, Carolin; Power, Michelle L.

In: Parasitology International, Vol. 61, No. 3, 09.2012, p. 461-465.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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