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Plasmodium spp. in wild birds from the São Paulo Zoo: species Identification by microscopy and DNA barcoding

Abstract

Plasmodium spp. (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) is a protozoan of cosmopolitan distribution. Currently, 38 species of Plasmodium are officially recognized in birds. The birds have a prominent place in studies of this parasite, because for many years were used as experimental models in studies of human malaria, enabling a better understanding of the cycle of this parasite and the study of antimalarial drugs. In the second half of the 20th century, parasites of birds were replaced by parasites of rodents and by the development of in vitro culture of P. falciparum. Unfortunately, these findings undermined the biological investigations of these parasites in birds. The taxonomy of these parasites is still very controversial and most studies are based solely on morphology. Although recent studies using molecular biology techniques have created gene sequences that have been deposited in GenBank, the parasites of these sequences were diagnosed only until genus, and in some cases, until even broader taxonomical levels. Furthermore, many sequences were misidentified, hampering molecular studies with this group. Therefore, the combination of microscopy, PCR and sequencing is essential for correct identification of these parasites. In Brazil, a country of remarkable diversity of birds, there are few studies of the incidence of hematozoa in these animals, most of which involved only the analysis of blood smears. In São Paulo, this survey was conducted more than thirty years ago and Plasmodium sp. was detected in 1.8% of the samples, although the species of the parasites have not been identified. Thus, this study aims to determine the incidence of Plasmodium spp. in captive birds from the Sao Paulo Zoo and free-living birds that migrate and inhabit the region. The research will be done by molecular biology techniques and microscopic analysis of blood smears, mainly aiming to establish a DNA barcode for the Plasmodium species identified. (AU)

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Scientific publications (5)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FERNANDES CHAGAS, CAROLINA ROMEIRO; VALKIUNAS, GEDIMINAS; GUIMARAES, LILIAN DE OLIVEIRA; MONTEIRO, ELIANA FERREIRA; VAZ GUIDA, FERNANDA JUNQUEIRA; SIMOES, ROSELI FRANCA; RODRIGUES, PRISCILA THIHARA; DE ALBUQUERQUE LUNA, EXPEDITO JOSE; KIRCHGATTER, KARIN. Diversity and distribution of avian malaria and related haemosporidian parasites in captive birds from a Brazilian megalopolis. Malaria Journal, v. 16, . (12/51427-1)
FERNANDES CHAGAS, CAROLINA ROMEIRO; GUIMARES, LILIAN DE OLIVEIRA; MONTEIRO, ELIANA FERREIRA; VALKIUNAS, GEDIMINAS; KATAYAMA, MICHELE VIANA; SANTOS, STEFANIE VANESSA; VAZ GUIDA, FERNANDA JUNQUEIRA; SIMOES, ROSELI FRANCA; KIRCHGATTER, KARIN. Hemosporidian parasites of free-living birds in the So Paulo Zoo, Brazil. Parasitology Research, v. 115, n. 4, p. 1443-1452, . (12/51427-1)
FECCHIO, ALAN; CHAGAS, CAROLINA R. F.; BELL, JEFFREY A.; KIRCHGATTER, KARIN. Evolutionary ecology, taxonomy, and systematics of avian malaria and related parasites. Acta Tropica, v. 204, . (12/51427-1)
SIMOES, ROSELI FRANCA; BRUNO WILKE, ANDRE BARRETTO; FERNANDES CHAGAS, CAROLINA ROMEIRO; TIRONI DE MENEZES, REGIANE MARIA; SUESDEK, LINCOLN; MULTINI, LAURA CRISTINA; SILVA, FABIANA SANTOS; GRECH, MARTA GLADYS; MARRELLI, MAURO TOLEDO; KIRCHGATTER, KARIN. Wing Geometric Morphometrics as a Tool for the Identification ofCulexSubgenus Mosquitoes ofCulex(Diptera: Culicidae). INSECTS, v. 11, n. 9, . (17/23407-0, 12/51427-1)
GUIMARAES, LILIAN DE OLIVEIRA; SIMOES, ROSELI FRANCA; CHAGAS, CAROLINA ROMEIRO FERNANDES; DE MENEZES, REGIANE MARIA TIRONI; SILVA, FABIANA SANTOS; MONTEIRO, ELIANA FERREIRA; HOLCMAN, MARCIA MOREIRA; BAJAY, MIKLOS MAXIMILIANO; PINTER, ADRIANO; DE CAMARGO-NEVES, VERA LUCIA FONSECA; et al. Assessing Diversity, Plasmodium Infection and Blood Meal Sources in Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from a Brazilian Zoological Park with Avian Malaria Transmission. INSECTS, v. 12, n. 3, . (17/23407-0, 17/50345-5, 18/16232-1, 12/51427-1)

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