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Genetic, morphological and biological diversity, phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy of trypanosomes (Trypanosomatidae: Trypanosoma) from bats

Grant number: 12/14985-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2012
Effective date (End): October 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Protozoology of Parasites
Principal Investigator:Marta Maria Geraldes Teixeira
Grantee:Luciana Lima
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Although it has been known for more than 100 years that bats harbour a large variety of trypanosomes from various subgenera, our knowledge regarding the genetic diversity, host range, vectors, life cycles, geographical distribution and phylogenetic relationships of these trypanosomes is very scarce. Our group has studied trypanosomes from bats in different Brazilian biomes for over 10 years and, more recently, also in Mozambique and Guinea Bissau in Africa, resulting in a large collection of cultures identified by DNA barcoding. Our aims in this project are to continue the work of isolation in culture and blood collection for detection of bat trypanosomes directly in blood samples by molecular methods. Together, data from previously obtained and new samples will be valuable to provide new data on morphological, biological and genetic diversity, hence, allowing better resolved inferences regarding phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships among the species of bat trypanosomes from different hosts and geographic regions. Taken together, all these data will be valuable to understand the evolutionary history and to a broader revision of the taxonomy of trypanosomes from bats, permitting the description of new species and subgenera. The implications of these studies in the development of molecular markers for diagnosis, genotyping and taxonomy will be explored. A recent study hypothesized that the ancestors of T. cruzi and T. rangeli, and also of their closely related trypanosomes restricted to bats or infective to other hosts, were parasites of bats that dispersed throughout the World and some species switched to new hosts of other mammalian orders given origin to more generalist species. Further studies of bat trypanosomes from South America and Africa are crucial to understand the evolutionary history of trypanosomes in general and, in particular, of the species infective to humans: T. cruzi and T. rangeli.

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
LIMA, LUCIANA; ESPINOSA-ALVAREZ, ONEIDA; HAMILTON, PATRICK B.; NEVES, LUIS; TAKATA, CARMEN S. A.; CAMPANER, MARTA; ATTIAS, MARCIA; DE SOUZA, WANDERLEY; CAMARGO, ERNEY P.; TEIXEIRA, MARTA M. G. Trypanosoma livingstonei: a new species from African bats supports the bat seeding hypothesis for the Trypanosoma cruzi clade. PARASITES & VECTORS, v. 6, AUG 3 2013. Web of Science Citations: 39.

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