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Optimization of protocols for DNA extraction from fecal samples

High-throughput sequencing offers new possibilities in molecular ecology and conservation studies. However, its potential has not yet become fully exploited for noninvasive studies of free–ranging animals, such as those based on feces. High–throughput sequencing allows sequencing of short DNA fragments and could allow simultaneous genotyping of a very large number of samples and markers at a low cost. The application of high throughput genotyping to fecal samples from wildlife has been hindered by several labor intensive steps. Alternative protocols which could allow higher throughput were evaluated for two of these steps: sample collection and DNA extraction. Two different field sampling and seven different DNA extraction methods were tested on grey wolf (Canis lupus) feces. There was high variation in genotyping success rates. The field sampling method based on surface swabbing performed much worse than the extraction from a fecal fragment. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNA extraction step. Optimization of protocols can lead to very much more efficient, cheaper and higher throughput noninvasive monitoring. Selection of appropriate markers is still of paramount importance to increase genotyping success. informacion[at] Sarabia et al (2020) Towards high-throughput analyses of fecal samples from wildlife. Animal Biodiver Conserv 43.2: 271–283 Doi 10.32800/abc.2020.43.0271
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Pathogen transmission risk by gulls moving across human landscapes

Pathogen transmission risk by gulls moving across human landscapes

Wildlife that exploit human-made habitats hosts and spreads bacterial pathogens. This shapes the epidemiology of infectious diseases and facilitates pathogen spill-over between wildlife and humans. This is a global problem, yet little is known about the dissemination potential of pathogen-infected animals. How this knowledge gap could be filled at regional scales is shown by combining molecular pathogen diagnosis with GPS tracking of pathogen-infected gulls. Specifically, pathogen risk maps of Salmonella, Campylobacter and Chlamydia were generated, based on the spatial movements of pathogen-infected yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis) equipped with GPS recorders. Also, crossing this spatial information with habitat information, critical habitats were identified for the potential transmission of these bacteria in southern Europe. The use of human-made habitats by infected-gulls could potentially increase the potential risk of direct and indirect bidirectional transmission of pathogens between humans and wildlife. These findings show that pathogen-infected wildlife equipped with GPS recorders can provide accurate information on the spatial spread risk for zoonotic bacteria. Integration of GPS-tracking with classical epidemiological approaches may help to improve zoonosis surveillance and control programs informacion[at] Navarro et al (2019) Pathogen transmission risk by opportunistic gulls moving across human landscapes. Scientific Reports 9:10659 DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-46326-1