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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e58088. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058088. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Distinguishing body lice from head lice by multiplex real-time PCR analysis of the Phum_PHUM540560 gene.

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  • 1Aix Marseille Université, URMITE, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095, Marseille, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Body louse or head louse? Once removed from their environment, body and head lice are indistinguishable. Neither the morphological criteria used since the mid-18th century nor the various genetic studies conducted since the advent of molecular biology tools have allowed body lice and head lice to be differentiated. In this work, using a portion of the Phum_PHUM540560 gene from the body louse, we aimed to develop a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to differentiate between body and head lice in a single reaction.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A total of 142 human lice were collected from mono-infested hosts from 13 countries on five continents. We first identified the louse clade using a cytochrome b (CYTB) PCR sequence alignment. We then aligned a fragment of the Phum_PHUM540560 gene amplified from head and body lice to design-specific TaqMan(©) FAM- and VIC-labeled probes.

RESULTS:

All the analyzed lice were Clade A lice. A total of 22 polymorphisms between the body and head lice were characterized. The multiplex real-time PCR analysis enabled the body and head lice to be distinguished in two hours. This method is simple, with 100% specificity and sensitivity.

CONCLUSIONS:

We confirmed that the Phum_PHUM540560 gene is a useful genetic marker for the study of lice.

PMID:
23469145
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3585238
Free PMC Article
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