Submitted to: Acta Parasitologica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2008
Publication Date: 4/4/2008
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Morales, J.A., Rosenthal, B.M. 2008. Molecular phylogeny implicates new world opossums (Didelphidae) as the definitive hosts of Sarcocystis ramphastosi, a parasite of the keel-billed toucan (Ramphasotos sulfuratus). Acta Parasitologica. 47:55-61.
Interpretive Summary: Sarcocystis species are single celled parasites that cause illness in humans and livestock. Humans can become infected with this parasite by ingesting infected pork and beef. Cattle and pigs can become infected by ingesting food and water contaminated with the resistant parasite stages excreted in feces of infected humans.Many species of Sacrcocystis are pathogenic to animals. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and an university in Costa Rica report on a Sarcocystis species in a naturally-infected tocan from Costa Rica.The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, public health workers,and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Macroscopic sarcocysts of Sarcocystis ramphastosi Dubey, Lane, and van Wilpe, 2006 were found in a tocan ((Ramphastos sulfuratus) from Costa Rica. The DNA extracted from 11 individual sarcocysts was subjected to PCR amplification assays targeting 1208 bp of 18S ribosomal DNA; data revealed a close phylogenetic relationship to S. falcatula and S. neurona, transmitted by didelphid marsupials, indegenous to Americas.These results suggest opossums as a definitive hosts for Sarcocystis ramphastosi.