Summary

 

 

 

We are establishing the genetic diversity and geographic distributions of two vector-borne pathogens, Trypanosoma (Protista) and Setaria (Nematoda), in several wild Rangifer herds in North America and Greenland. In the field, samples are collected with the assistance of government biologists and veterinarians, academic researchers, and importantly, northern community members, whose way of life depends on healthy caribou herds. The animals that are sampled in the field are part of larger wildlife health monitoring programs including CARMA, and therefore the data accumulated from this pathogen project both augment, and make use of, the other information collected when the animals are harvested.

 

When an animal is harvested, filter papers are soaked in blood, dried, and then sent to the lab. Separate filter papers are collected for each animal. At the lab, whole DNA is extracted from the dried filter papers and then PCR-based diagnostics are used to screen for each pathogen of interest. When pathogens are detected they are sequenced for the purpose of comparing strains within and among Rangiferherds, as well as among northern ungulate species. We are improving our understanding of parasite biodiversity and also providing insight into the likely source(s) of strains found in wild herds - for example, are they endemic, or recent introductions from more southern cervids?

 

 

Samples have been collected from several herds across Canada and Greenland since early 2007 and collections will continue through the end of 2009.  Screening is underway and early results are revealing previously undescribed strains of Trypanosoma.

 

 

Monitoring herds for several pathogens as part of overall herd health monitoring; improved understanding of the diversity and distribution of several pathogens.

 

Contacts

 

 

 

Dr. Susan J Kutz, Associate Professor
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2N 4N1
403-210-3824
skutz 'at' ucalgary.ca

 

Dr. Danna M Schock, Postdoctoral Researcher
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2N 4N1
403-210-6309
dschock 'at' ucalgary.ca

 

 

 

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