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Research Project: Analysis of Ectoparasites of White-tailed Deer for Bovine Diseases at IBWC Land Adjacent to Falcon Lake in Zapata County, Texas

Location: Cattle Fever Tick Research

Project Number: 3094-32000-042-062-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 1, 2020
End Date: Apr 30, 2022

The objective is to sample the ectoparasites of white-tailed deer and analyze for bovine diseases. The USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services has asked that an additional cooperator, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS), University of Georgia, be part of the study to analyze ectoparasites from the white-tailed deer captured in this study. The Cooperator will receive ticks collected by ARS and participate in sampling of deer for ectoparasites in March, 2020 in Zapata.

Samples collected from white-tailed deer in Zapata, TX will be used to identify potential protozoan parasites of bovine that white-tailed deer may carry. In addition, collected ticks will be used to determine if ticks carry protozoan parasites that can infect bovines. Genomic DNA will be isolated from whole blood and ticks using commercially available reagents. We will identify protozoan parasites by PCR targeting 18S ribosomal DNA. The primers are designed to amplify the conserved regions flanking a hyper-variable region of 18S ribosomal DNA. PCR products will be sequenced to identify the specific protozoan infecting white-tailed deer and ticks. The samples will be stored at -80 degree C until the data are published in a peer review journal. Some of the samples (DNA isolates) will be shipped to SCWDS (University of Georgia) for nested PCRs for Theileria targeting a portion of the 18S rRNA gene and Anaplasma targeting a portion of the 16S rRNA and groESL genes. After completion of publication, all samples, including whole blood, ticks, and isolated DNA, will be incinerated as the final disposition.