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Genomic sequencing of Sarcocystis spp. derived from brazilian Didelphis spp.

Grant number: 21/06779-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 13, 2021
Effective date (End): June 12, 2022
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Pathology
Principal Investigator:Rosangela Zacarias Machado
Grantee:Mariele de Santi
Supervisor: Daniel Keith Howe
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias (FCAV). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Jaboticabal. Jaboticabal , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Kentucky (UK), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:19/08294-0 - Detection and molecular characterization of Sarcocystis spp. in Marsupials (Didelphis spp.) from Campo Grande, MS e São Paulo, SP, Brazil, BP.DR


Sarcocystis spp. are apicomplexan parasites of great importance in Veterinary Medicine. These protozoans have the ability to infect a broad range of intermediate hosts, including avian, reptiles, fish, mammals, and also humans. Sarcocystis neurona is the main etiological agent of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), and in North America it is also an important cause of mortality in marine mammals. Sarcocystis falcatula is the cause of acute pulmonary sarcocystosis in several bird species. Opossums (Didelphis spp.) are the definitive hosts for S. neurona and S. falcatula, species that present a close genotypic relationship. During the last several years, molecular markers have been developed to characterize Sarcocystis isolates. More recently, the S. neurona whole genome sequence and annotation has been made publically available. Most Sarcocystis spp. in Brazil are considered S. falcatula-like organisms, as they are infective to birds. Despite the occurrence of a disease resembling EPM in equids from Brazil, only in two occasions S. neurona was isolated from D. albiventris in the country. Moreover, brazilian S. neurona from D. albiventris was found to be different from North American isolates, suggesting sexual recombination in the intestines of opossums. Since such divergence has been observed among Sarcocystis isolates, the present work aims to assess the genome of Sarcocystis spp. derived from brazilian Didelphis spp. using next generation sequencing tools. This way, it is expected to better understand the real genetic diversity between Sarcocystis that circulate through opossums, which could be associated with the increase in the risk of disease in several species. (AU)

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