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Avian malaria: morphological and molecular characterization (cytochrome b) in different South American biomes

Grant number: 22/07897-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): May 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Protozoology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Karin Kirchgatter Hildebrand
Grantee:Carolina Clares dos Anjos
Host Institution: Instituto Pasteur (IP). Coordenadoria de Controle de Doenças (CCD). Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Determining locally the prevalence and transmission dynamics of parasitic organisms is important to understand their ability to persist in host populations and disperse across regions. Avian malaria (Plasmodium) and related haemosporidian parasites (Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon) are a cosmopolitan group of protozoa recovered from all major bird groups and all zoogeographic regions except Antarctica. In this study, we will identify and classify haemosporidian lineages and species by microscopic and molecular analysis (DNA barcoding) in resident and migratory wild birds from Brazilian (Atlantic Forest and Pantanal) and Argentine (AndeanPatagonian Forest) biomes. Phylogenetic analyzes will also be performed with the sequences found. The presence of parasites can influence the ecological and behavioral processes of wild birds, including flight modifications, reproductive success, brood size, migration, ability to compete and foraging. However, the study of malaria in birds is important not only for ecological and conservation aspects, but is also part of the 'One Health' approach. More than ever, we now know that the range of studied pathogens needs to be expanded and how important it is to know how often they occur in nature.

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