A restriction site to differentiate : on the inefficiency of general primers for detection of mixed infectionsPlasmodium: on the inefficiency of general primers for detection of mixed infections and : on the inefficiency of general primers for detection of mixed infectionsHaemoproteus: on the inefficiency of general primers for detection of mixed infections infections in birds: on the inefficiency of general primers for detection of mixed infections

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus parasites are easily detected by DNA analyses of infected samples but only correctly assigned to each genus by sequencing and use of a phylogenetic approach. Here, we present a restriction site to differentiate between both parasite genera avoiding the use of those analyses. Alignments of 820 sequences currently listed in GenBank encoding a particular cytochrome B region of avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus show a shared restriction site for both genera using the endonuclease Hpy CH4III. An additional restriction site is present in Plasmodium sequences that would initially allow differentiation of both genera by differential migration of digested products on gels. Overall 9 out of 326 sequences containing both potential restriction sites do not fit to the general rule. We used this differentiation of parasite genera based on Hpy CH4III restriction sites to evaluate the efficacy of 2 sets of general primers in detecting mixed infections. To do so, we used samples from hosts infected by parasites of both genera. The use of general primers was only able to detect 25% or less of the mixed infections. Therefore, parasite DNA amplification using general primers to determine the species composition of haemosporidian infections in individual hosts is not recommended. Specific primers for each species and study area should be designed until a new method can efficiently discriminate both parasites.

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