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The high resolution melting analysis (HRM) as a molecular tool for monitoring parasites of the wildlife

Abstract : In an interconnected world, the international pet trade on wild animals is becoming increasingly important. As a consequence, non-native parasite species are introduced, which affect the health of wildlife and contribute to the loss of biodiversity. Because the investigation of parasite diversity within vulnerable host species implies the molecular identification of large samples of parasite eggs, the sequencing of DNA barcodes is time-consuming and costly. Thereby, the objectives of our study were to apply the high resolution melting (HRM) approach for species determination from pools of parasite eggs. Molecular assays were validated on flatworm parasites (polystomes) infecting the Mediterranean pond turtle Mauremys leprosa and the invasive red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans in French natural environments. HRM analysis results indicated that double or multiple parasitic infections could be detected from wild animal populations. They also showed that the cycle of parasite eggs production was not regular over time and may depend on several factors, among which the ecological niche and the target species. Thereby, monitoring parasites from wild endangered animals implies periodic parasitological surveys to avoid false negative diagnostics, based solely on eggs production.
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Laurent Héritier, Olivier Verneau, Gregory Breuil, Anne-Leila Meistertzheim. The high resolution melting analysis (HRM) as a molecular tool for monitoring parasites of the wildlife. Parasitology, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2017, 144 (05), pp.563 - 570. ⟨10.1017/S0031182016002183⟩. ⟨hal-01740058⟩



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