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AMPLIFICATION OF HUMAN DNA BY PRIMERS TARGETED TO LEISHMANIA KINETOPLAST DNA AND POST-GENOME CONSIDERATIONS IN THE DETECTION OF PARASITES BY A POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION

CAROLINA VERGELCentro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas, Cali, Colombia

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JOHN WALKERCentro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas, Cali, Colombia

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NANCY G. SARAVIACentro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas, Cali, Colombia

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We evaluated the Leishmania Viannia-specific primers B1-B2 to detect Leishmania in normal skin and peripheral blood monocytes of patients with active cutaneous leishmaniasis. Southern blotting and sequencing of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products confirmed the specificity of kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) amplification from tissue fluid from healthy skin, whereas the PCR with monocytes also amplified a human sequence of a size similar (718 basepairs) to the expected kDNA product (750 basepairs), resulting in false-positive results. Although B1 was not homologous to any human DNA sequence, B2 showed homology to a human chromosome 2 intergenic region (AC010878) at positions 35,881-36,599, which are spaced 718 nucleotides apart. Amplification of the human art3fact from monocyte DNA was confirmed using the primer B2 alone. Examination of other primers reported for the PCR of kDNA from various species of Leishmania showed that six of seven were homologous to human DNA sequences. These findings underscore the importance of exploiting sequencing, bioinformatics, and DNA probes to refine molecular amplification techniques and to validate the performance of primers when used for new applications.

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