Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2000
Publication Date: 11/2/2000
Interpretive Summary: The genus Trichinella is composed of no less than 6 species and 2 additional genotypes that remain as yet unclassified. In general, parasites of this genus do not possess distinguishable morphological characters. Consequently, other methods have been developed throughout the years to identify species. This manuscript describes classic biochemical methods, and presents the most current molecular based procedures for performing this task. This work was undertaken to compile past, current and state-of- the-art techniques available for identifying genotypes and demonstrates the importance of diagnosis at the level of individual worms as the stepping stone to performing Trichinella biopsies.
Technical Abstract: Delineation of the genus Trichinella into a more complex group of parasites has substantially motivated investigators to better identify and characterize the species and genotypes that form the basis of their investigations. Because of the cosmopolitan geographical distribution and broad host range that typifies this genus, assigning unique biological, immunological and biochemical characters to each species and genotype has been essential for researchers to further advance this field. Numerous groups have been developing simple methods to differentiate the genotypes and, by so doing, have been generating diagnostic keys that accurately reflect the distinct differences among parasites of this group. Throughout the years, many methods have been used to accomplish this task beginning with isoenzyme analyses and the use of repetitive DNA probes, to employing the polymerase chain reaction and more state-of-the-art technologies. The following chapter summarizes the development of these methods with emphasi on molecular techniques and the ultimate goal of providing a simple, rapid and reproducible test to differentiate Trichinella parasites at the highest level of sensitivity i.e. single parasite.