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Morphological and molecular characterization of three Eimeria species from captured rangeland goats in Western Australia

Al-Habsi, K., Yang, R.ORCID: 0000-0003-2563-2015, Ryan, U.ORCID: 0000-0003-2710-9324, Miller, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-4634-5819 and Jacobson, C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9427-1941 (2017) Morphological and molecular characterization of three Eimeria species from captured rangeland goats in Western Australia. Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports, 9 . pp. 75-83.

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Faecal shedding of Eimeria by captured rangeland goats (Capra hircus) was investigated using a longitudinal observational study. Faecal samples were collected from 125 male goats on four occasions. The first sampling occurred following capture and transport, immediately after arrival at a commercial goat depot (feedlot) in Western Australia, with subsequent 3 sample collections occurring at one month intervals thereafter. Goats were composite breed and aged approximately 9–12 months on arrival at the feedlot. Prevalence and shedding intensity (faecal oocyst concentration) for Eimeria were determined using qPCR. Species were identified from individual oocysts (isolated using micromanipulation) using molecular analysis at two loci, specifically 18S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase gene (COI), and confirmed by microscopy. Longitudinal prevalence (animals positive at least once) for Eimeria spp. by qPCR was 90.4%, with 60% goats shedding Eimeria spp. on more than one occasion. Point prevalence (prevalence at a single sampling occasion) ranged from 2.4% (fourth sampling) to 70.4% (second sampling). Three species were identified at the 18S rRNA locus and confirmed by microscopy: E. christenseni (longitudinal prevalence for single infection 34.4%), E. hirci (17.6%) and E. arloingi (8.8%) over the four sample collections. Mixed infections were identified in 56.8% goats (longitudinal prevalence). 18S rRNA sequences from E. christenseni and E. hirci were 100% homologous with ovine E. ahsata and E. crandallis respectively, and E. arloingi was 100% similar to caprine E. arloingi. At the COI locus, E. christenseni, E. hirci and E. arloingi grouped separately, and were closely related to ovine E. ahsata, with genetic similarities of 96.5%, 92.6% and 91.4% respectively. This is the first report for molecular characteristics of caprine-derived Eimeria spp. using a combination of 18S rRNA and COI. Molecular techniques can be used to identify Eimeria spp. in goat faecal samples, specifically through characterization at 18S locus and other gene loci when used in parallel. Molecular techniques offer some advantages over microscopy for identification of Eimeria species, particularly with respect to precision.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © Elsevier B.V.
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