PCR primers for straightforward differentiation of Haemonchus contortus, Haemonchus placei and their hybrids
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Haemonchus contortus and Haemonchus placei are among the major parasites of small ruminants and cattle. Although infection with these nematodes is host-specific, with H. placei predominating in cattle and H. contortus in sheep, cross-infections are observed in areas where both parasites are sympatric, and hybrid offspring can occur. Therefore, a fast and precise method is required for differentiating the parasites. Identification based on spicule morphometry is the most common technique for differentiating Haemonchus species. However, because these measurements overlap between species, morphological analysis is insufficient for differentiating between helminth species. In this work, we present a reliable, conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method that uses two species-specific primer pairs to differentiate between H. contortus and H. placei specimens and their hybrids. Each primer pair produces one single and distinct amplification band for each species, which enables the detection of hybrid specimens. These primer pairs were validated by testing eight different populations of H. contortus, H. placei and hybrids.