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PCR detection of Heterakis gallinarum in environmental samples

Cupo, Katherine L., Beckstead, Robert B.
Veterinary parasitology 2019 v.271 pp. 1-6
Alphitobius diaperinus, Ascaridia galli, Cestoda, DNA, Heterakis, Histomonas meleagridis, Lumbricus, chickens, earthworms, eggs, feces, genome, oligodeoxyribonucleotides, parasites, parasitism, polymerase chain reaction, poultry industry, soil, turkeys
Heterakis gallinarum is a widely distributed cecal nematode that parasitizes gallinaceous birds including chickens and turkeys. H. gallinarum infection poses a problem for the poultry industry as the nematode egg serves as a vector for the protozoan parasite, Histomonas meleagridis, the causative agent of histomonosis. The only means of detecting H. gallinarum in the environment is microscopic identification of the eggs in soil or feces; however, H. gallinarum eggs are often mistaken for those of Ascaridia galli. Three primer sets were designed from sequences cloned from the H. gallinarum genome to develop a diagnostic PCR. Each of these primer sets amplified a single product from H. gallinarum, but were unable to amplify DNA from H. meleagridis, Ascaridia galli, or Cestode sp. H. gallinarum DNA was amplified from Lumbricus sp. (earthworms) and Alphitobius diaperinus (darkling beetles), confirming that the earthworm acts as a paratenic host for H. gallinarum and suggesting that the darkling beetle may be a carrier for this nematode.