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Development of a novel PCR assay capable of detecting a single Schistosoma japonicum cercaria recovered from Oncomelania hupensis

  • A. J. DRISCOLL (a1), J. L. KYLE (a2) (a3) and J. REMAIS (a1)

Location and time-specific variability in Schistosoma japonicum cercarial density has been shown to be high in the mountainous regions of Sichuan Province, China. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of schistosome cercariae in these environments would aid in the determination of environmental risk, and the identification of individual-level risk factors. Here the authors present a highly sensitive and specific PCR assay for the detection of S. japonicum cercariae in laboratory samples. As few as 1 and as many as 300 cercariae, from both laboratory and field-collected S. japonicum strains, produced positive amplification results, and repeated assays showed no positive result for S. mansoni nor for non-japonicum cercariae isolated from infected snails collected in Sichuan Province. There was no difference found between the Chinese and Philippine S. japonicum strains. The results presented demonstrate the successful PCR amplification of a target sequence within the SjR2 retrotransposon from samples of S. japonicum cercariae, with the potential for application to natural water samples from endemic areas.

Corresponding author
Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, 140 Earl Warren Hall #7360, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Tel: +510 642 9016. Fax: +510 642 5815. E-mail:
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Hertel, J., Hamburger, J., Haberl, B. and Haas, W. ( 2002). Detection of bird schistosomes in lakes by PCR and filter-hybridization. Experimental Parasitology101, 5763.

Laha, T., Brindley, P. J., Smout, M. J., Verity, C. K., McManus, D. P. and Loukas, A. ( 2002). Reverse transcriptase activity and untranslated region sharing of a new RTE-like, non-long terminal repeat retrotransposon from the human blood fluke, Schistosoma japonicum. International Journal for Parasitology32, 11631174.

Rivas, R., Velazquez, E., Zurdo-Pineiro, J. L., Mateos, P. F. and Monlina, E. M. ( 2003). Identification of microorganisms by PCR amplification and sequencing of a universal amplified ribosomal region present in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Journal of Microbiological Methods56, 413426.

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  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
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