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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Genetic characterization, species differentiation and detection of Fasciola spp. by molecular approaches

Lin Ai123, Mu-Xin Chen12, Samer Alasaad4, Hany M Elsheikha5, Juan Li3, Hai-Long Li3, Rui-Qing Lin3, Feng-Cai Zou6, Xing-Quan Zhu167* and Jia-Xu Chen2*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, CAAS, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730046, P R China

2 National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai 200025, P R China

3 College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510642, P R China

4 Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Avda. Américo Vespucio s/n 41092 Sevilla, Spain

5 School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, LE12 5RD, UK

6 College of Animal Science and Technology, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, Yunnan Province 650201, P R China

7 College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University, Daqing, Heilongjiang Province 163319, P R China

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:101  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-101

Published: 10 June 2011

Abstract

Liver flukes belonging to the genus Fasciola are among the causes of foodborne diseases of parasitic etiology. These parasites cause significant public health problems and substantial economic losses to the livestock industry. Therefore, it is important to definitively characterize the Fasciola species. Current phenotypic techniques fail to reflect the full extent of the diversity of Fasciola spp. In this respect, the use of molecular techniques to identify and differentiate Fasciola spp. offer considerable advantages. The advent of a variety of molecular genetic techniques also provides a powerful method to elucidate many aspects of Fasciola biology, epidemiology, and genetics. However, the discriminatory power of these molecular methods varies, as does the speed and ease of performance and cost. There is a need for the development of new methods to identify the mechanisms underpinning the origin and maintenance of genetic variation within and among Fasciola populations. The increasing application of the current and new methods will yield a much improved understanding of Fasciola epidemiology and evolution as well as more effective means of parasite control. Herein, we provide an overview of the molecular techniques that are being used for the genetic characterization, detection and genotyping of Fasciola spp..