Are Eimeria Genetically Diverse, and Does It Matter?

Clark, E L and Tomley, F M and Blake, D P (2017) Are Eimeria Genetically Diverse, and Does It Matter? TRENDS IN PARASITOLOGY, 33 (3). pp. 231-241.

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Abstract

Eimeria pose a risk to all livestock species as a cause of coccidiosis, reducing productivity and compromising animal welfare. Pressure to reduce drug use in the food chain makes the development of cost-effective vaccines against Eimeria essential. For novel vaccines to be successful, understanding genetic and antigenic diversity in field populations is key. Eimeria species that infect chickens are most significant, with Eimeria tenella among the best studied and most economically important. Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based haplotyping has been used to determine population structure, genotype distribution, and potential for cross-fertilization between E. tenella strains. Here, we discuss recent developments in our understanding of diversity for Eimeria in relation to its specialized life cycle, distribution across the globe, and the challenges posed to vaccine development.