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Open Access Occurrence of mycoplasmas in semen samples of birds of prey

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Mycoplasmas are well-known pathogens in a variety of animals. In poultry it is known that some species can be transmitted by semen and infect the uterus of females. As the prevalence of mycoplasmas in birds of prey is very high and artificial insemination is a commonly used technique for reproduction, the possibility of transmission Mycoplasma spp. by contaminated semen in birds of prey was investigated. Isolation of mycoplasmas was possible in five out of 32 (15.6%) semen samples of different bird of prey species. Two additional semen samples were positive for mycoplasma DNA using a Mycoplasma-genus-specific polymerase chain reaction. The isolation of mycoplasmas from a testicular sample indicates the testis as the possible source of contamination. Sequencing of large parts (>90%) of the 16S rRNA gene of the isolated mycoplasmas suggests that all isolates belong to the same species. Alignment of the sequenced products with the 16S rRNA gene of Mycoplasma species in GenBank demonstrated a similarity of 97% to Mycoplasma verecundum, but serological testing by immunobinding assay failed to identify it as such. It is recommended that the semen of donor birds of prey is examined for mycoplasmas before its use in artificial insemination.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Poultry Diseases, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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