Morphological and molecular characterization of Giardia isolated from the straw-necked ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) in Western Australia

K. M. McRoberts, B. P. Meloni, U. M. Morgan, R. Marano, N. Binz, S. L. Erlandsen, S. A. Halse, R. C.A. Thompson

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Following the first report of avian Giardia infection in Australia, isolates of the parasite recovered from naturally infected straw-necked ibis (Theskiornis spinicollis) were characterized using median body morphology, scanning electron microscopy, multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), and small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU-rRNA) analyses. Results were compared with Giardia from other birds and mammals, and the extent of genetic diversity between a range of ibis isolates collected in Western Australia was determined. The ibis isolates of Giardia were genetically relatively homogeneous, which is in contrast to the extensive genetic heterogeneity often displayed by mammalian Giardia isolates. Morphologically, Giardia from ibis were similar to Giardia ardeae although they differed genetically and by the fact that the ibis isolates could not be established in in vitro culture. Sequence data of the DNA coding for the SSU-rRNA found a 96% homology between the ibis isolates from Western Australia and G. ardeae, suggesting that they represent distinct strains of the same species. In contrast, the ibis isolates were genetically and morphologically very different than Giardia duodenalis and Giardia muris from mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-718
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parasitology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996
Externally publishedYes

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