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Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in minks (Neovison vison), blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus), and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in farms from Xinjiang, Northwest China


The objective of this study was to determine the infection rate and genetic diversity of Cryptosporidium spp. in minks, foxes, and raccoon dogs, farmed in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Northwest China. Fresh fecal specimens were collected from individual cages of farmed minks (n = 214), blue foxes (n = 35), and raccoon dogs (n = 39) and examined using nested PCR based on the Cryptosporidium spp. small subunit rRNA gene. Cryptosporidium spp. was detected in 35 cages (12.2%, 35/288), with a higher infection rate detected in raccoon dogs (20.5%) compared with minks (12.1%) and blue foxes (2.9%). Sequence analysis showed that Cryptosporidium canis was the only species identified in blue foxes and raccoon dogs, while in the 26 Cryptosporidium-positive mink specimens, Cryptosporidium mink genotype (n = 17), C. canis (n = 7), and Cryptosporidium parvum (n = 2) were identified. Further analysis based on the 60-kDa glycoprotein (gp60) gene determined that both C. parvum isolates belonged to the subtype IIdA15G1, while eight of the 17 Cryptosporidium mink genotype isolates were a novel subtype that we have named XeA5G1. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of C. parvum subtype IIdA15G1 infection in minks. Since all the Cryptosporidium species/genotypes identified in minks, foxes, and raccoon dogs from Xinjiang have been previously found in humans, our results suggest that these fur animals may play a role in the transmission of zoonotic Cryptosporidium.

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We thank Gemma Richards, PhD, from the Liwen Bianji, Edanz Editing China (, for editing the English text of a draft of this manuscript.

We also thank MogoEdit, China (, for polishing the revised manuscript.


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31702227) and the Program for Young and Middle-aged Leading Science, Technology, and Innovation of Xinjiang Production & Construction Group (2018CB034). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Meng Qi.

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Appropriate permission was obtained from the farm managers prior to fecal specimen collection, and no specific permits were required for the described field studies. The protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of Tarim University.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Section Editor: Yaoyu Feng

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Qian, W., Zhang, Y., Jiang, Y. et al. Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in minks (Neovison vison), blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus), and raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in farms from Xinjiang, Northwest China. Parasitol Res 119, 3923–3927 (2020).

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  • Cryptosporidium
  • Zoonotic
  • Subtyping
  • Mink
  • Fox
  • Raccoon dog
  • China