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Genetic diversity of Blastocystis in non-primate animals

Betts, Emma L., Gentekaki, Eleni, Thomasz, Adele, Breakell, Vicki, Carpenter, Angus I., Tsaousis, Anastasios D (2017) Genetic diversity of Blastocystis in non-primate animals. Parasitology, 1 (7). ISSN 0031-1820. E-ISSN 1469-8161. (doi:10.1017/S0031182017002347) (KAR id:64947)


Blastocystis is an anaerobic protist, commonly inhabiting the intestinal tract of both humans and other animals. Blastocystis is extremely diverse comprising 17 genetically distinct subtypes in mammals and birds. Pathogenicity of this enteric microbe is currently disputed and knowledge regarding its distribution, diversity and zoonotic potential is fragmentary. Most research has focused on Blastocystis from primates, while sampling from other animals remains limited. Herein, we investigated the prevalence and distribution of Blastocystis in animals held within a conservation park in South East England. A total of 118 samples were collected from 27 vertebrate species. The barcoding region of the small-subunit ribosomal RNA was used for molecular identification and subtyping. Forty one per cent of the species were sequence positive for Blastocystis indicating a high prevalence and wide distribution among the animals in the park. Six subtypes were identified, one of which is potentially novel. Moreover, the majority of animals were asymptomatic carriers, suggesting that Blastocystis is not pathogenic in animals. This study provides a thorough investigation of Blastocystis prevalence within a wildlife park in the UK and can be used as a platform for further investigations on the distribution of other eukaryotic gut microbes.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0031182017002347
Uncontrolled keywords: Blastocystis, subtype, prevalence, phylogeny, genetic diversity
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Biosciences
Funders: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (
Depositing User: Anastasios Tsaousis
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 10:15 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 23:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Tsaousis, Anastasios D.

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