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Morphological and molecular characterizations of Sarcocystis miescheriana and Sarcocystis suihominis in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) in China

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In this study, 36.8% (28/76) of tissue samples collected from domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) contained sarcocysts, as determined by light microscopy. The organisms were identified as Sarcocystis miescheriana and Sarcocystis suihominis based on their morphological and molecular characteristics. Four genetic markers, i.e., 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, ITS-1 region (ITS-1), and the mitochondrial COX1 gene (COX1), of the two parasites were sequenced and analyzed, and the 28S rDNA and ITS-1 of S. suihominis obtained from pigs constituted the first records of these markers in GenBank. The sequences of the four loci (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, ITS-1, and COX1) of S. miescheriana shared high identities with those of S. miescheriana obtained from domestic and/or wild pigs in GenBank, with similarities of 99.6%, 99.6%, 95.9%, and 95.4%, respectively. The 18S rDNA sequences of S. suihominis exhibited 99.4% identity with those of S. suihominis from domestic and wild pigs. The comparison of the newly obtained sequences of the four genetic markers between the two parasites revealed that the interspecific similarities of 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, ITS-1, and COX1 were 97.7%, 96.6%, 80.3%, and 81.2%, respectively. Therefore, the two species could be better discriminated with ITS-1 and mitochondrial COX1 compared with 18S rDNA or 28S rDNA. The phylogenetic analysis using 28S rDNA indicated that the two Sarcocystis species in domestic pigs had a close relationship.

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This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (grant 2017YFD0500400), the Natural Sciences Foundation of China (grant 31460557), and the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Science (grant Y4zk111B01).

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Correspondence to Junjie Hu or Yurong Yang.

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Huang, Z., Ye, Y., Zhang, H. et al. Morphological and molecular characterizations of Sarcocystis miescheriana and Sarcocystis suihominis in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa) in China. Parasitol Res 118, 3491–3496 (2019).

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