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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2014 Jul;26(4):538-541. doi: 10.1177/1040638714535600.

Use of the polymerase chain reaction assay for the detection of Babesia odocoilei 18S ribosomal RNA in formalin-fixed tissues.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


The effect of fixation and storage conditions on the performance of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for Babesia odocoilei were examined using 3 different primer sets targeting the eukaryotic 18S ribosomal RNA gene, with variably sized products of 1,723 base pairs (bp), 483 bp, and 306 bp. All primer sets performed well on fresh-frozen tissue, and storage for 1 year at -20°C did not affect PCR performance. Formalin fixation markedly affected the amplicon length that could be amplified. However, DNA was successfully amplified after storage in formalin for 2 months using the primer set with a 483-bp product, and up to 6 months using the primer set with a 306-bp product. The latter primer set successfully differentiated B. odocoilei and Babesia microti DNA; however, further evaluation is required to confirm its specificity. Treatment of tissues with formic acid, at concentrations typically used to denature prions, degraded the DNA and made it unsuitable for PCR testing.


Archive; Babesia odocoilei; fixation; formalin; formic acid; polymerase chain reaction

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