Submitted to: Molecular Ecology Notes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 14, 2005
Publication Date: March 10, 2006
Citation: Asmundsson, I.M., Rosenthal, B.M. 2006. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers from Sarcocystis neurona, a causitive agent of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Molecular Ecology Notes. 6:8-10. Interpretive Summary: Opossums excrete what appear to be several distinct species of Sarcocystis, only one of which is presently known to cause a serious neurological disease in horses termed Equine Myeloencephalitis. Discerning genetic criteria for discriminating these various taxa is presently difficult, hindering study of epidemiological risk. This problem is further complicated by the possibility that these parasites perpetuate as stable clones. We have therefore cloned a series of highly polymorphic microsatellite markers which should prove useful in defining species and clones in genetic terms.
Technical Abstract: The population genetics and systematics of coccidian parasites of the genus Sarcocystis remain poorly defined, despite their relevancy to veterinary and human health. Despite opportunities for sexual recombination, non-recombinant parasite clones characterized by distinct transmission and pathogenesis traits persist in related parasites, i.e. Toxoplasma gondii. In order to determine whether this may be generally true for parasitic coccidia, and to address evolutionary and taxonomic problems within the genus Sarcocystis, we cloned twelve polymorphic microsatellite markers (4-13 alleles) for S. neurona, the major causative agent of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM).