Development of a Molecular Assay to Identify Ticks that Vector Rickettsial Diseases
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3100 Fresh Way SW, Huntsville, AL, -
AbstractAssignment of a taxonomic species to a tick specimen pulled from a person is a non-trivial exercise even for a trained taxonomist let alone for a typical health care provider. The nearly 700 species in the taxonomic family Ixodidae, sometimes referred to as hard-backed ticks, are those of most concern to health care professionals. We propose here to develop an innovative molecularly-based methodology that should be able to be performed by personnel with minimal laboratory training (i.e. college laboratory course in either biochemistry, molecular biology, or microbiology). It involves the use of real-time PCR on commercially-available equipment and will be capable of identifying 100's of species. Further automation of the process during Phase 2 will make the detection equipment operable by personnel in the field with a few hours of targeted, specific training.
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