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Identification of novel Babesia and Theileria genotypes in the endangered marsupials, the woylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) and boodie (Bettongia lesueur)

Paparini, A., Ryan, U.M., Warren, K., McInnes, L.M., de Tores, P. and Irwin, P.J. (2012) Identification of novel Babesia and Theileria genotypes in the endangered marsupials, the woylie (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi) and boodie (Bettongia lesueur). Experimental Parasitology, 131 (1). pp. 25-30.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exppara.2012.02.021
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    Abstract

    Piroplasms, which include the genera Theileria and Babesia, are blood-borne parasites transmitted mainly by tick vectors. Relatively little is known about their prevalence and clinical impact in Australian marsupials. In the present study the occurrence and molecular phylogeny of these parasites were studied in both wild and captive marsupials from Western Australia (WA) and Queensland (QLD).

    Blood samples were screened by microscopy and molecular methods, using PCR and DNA sequencing of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA). Overall, 7.1% of the blood samples (8/113) were positive for piroplasm 18S rDNA. Theileria and Babesia rDNA was detected in 0.9% (1/113) and 6.2% (7/113) of the animals, respectively. The single Theileria positive was identified in one of three boodies (Bettongia lesueur) screened from a wildlife rehabilitation centre in WA, while all seven Babesia positives were detected in WA in wild captured woylies (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi). Small intraerythrocytic inclusions were observed in blood films made from six of these individuals. This is the first report of a Babesia sp. in woylies, and Theileria sp. in boodies.

    Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the woylie-derived Babesia was genetically distinct and most closely related to Babesia occultans, the causative agent of a benign form of cattle babesiosis (genetic similarity 98.4%). The Theileria identified was most closely related to the marsupial-derived species Theileria penicillata from the woylie, Theileria brachyuri from the quokka (Setonix brachyurus), and Theileria sp. from the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus).

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
    Publisher: Academic Press
    Copyright: © 2012 Elsevier Inc
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7545
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