The Molecular Epidemiology of Parasites

A special issue of Parasitologia (ISSN 2673-6772).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 2471

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Biomedical Research Centre, School of Science Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK
Interests: molecular epidemiology; Toxoplasma; trypanosomes; protozoan parasites; host-parasite interactions; ecology of parasitic diseases; host resistance to parasites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Molecular epidemiology generally refers to the use of DNA-based approaches to understanding the identity, etiology or transmission of a disease. In the case of parasites, it has revolutionized our understanding of transmission cycles, transmission dynamics and the detailed taxonomic dissection of the infectious agents we are interested in. Since the first review, over 30 years ago, on the “Molecular Epidemiology of Parasites” (Hide and Tait, 1991, Experientia, 47, 128-142), technology has expanded from “the promise” of “new techniques” such as PCR to our current ability to sequence entire genomes from populations of parasites and beyond. Furthermore, the very limited range of parasites studied back then has exploded since. Databases of genomic sequences have enabled the development of tools which can not only be applied to almost all parasites but also used to discover those species as yet unknown to us. The aim of this Special Issue is to gather together recent studies that apply these wide ranges of techniques or approaches and to showcase the range of parasite species to which they have been applied. With the World Health Organization recently reporting that parasites cause 6 of the top 10 sources of death in low-income parts of the world, there is a pressing need to bring together ideas to advance our knowledge of parasite epidemiology.

Submitted works should focus on recent studies that make use of DNA-based technologies as a tool for investigating the epidemiology of a specific parasite or group of parasites. Typically, but not exclusively, the topics considered could be the application of molecular approaches to (1) understanding life cycles or transmission cycles, (2) understanding transmission dynamics within host–parasite systems, (3) understanding the evolution of new host–parasite interactions, or (4) the identification of the roles in parasite epidemiology of new species and strains, of new/revised taxonomies, and of newly identified organisms. Contributed submissions can be either reviews or primary research papers and will be peer-reviewed. A key objective of this Special Issue is to enable researchers to “look sideways” at different approaches used in different parasite systems; as such, there is no restriction on which parasites or approaches are covered. While we have invited key contributors to cover a wide range of molecular epidemiological scenarios, we are happy to consider any manuscripts that are encompassed within this topic. This Special Issue should draw together a range of current views of the use of molecular tools as applied to the epidemiology of parasites.

Prof. Dr. Geoff Hide
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Parasitologia is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • parasites
  • molecular epidemiology
  • host–parasite interactions
  • transmission cycles
  • life cycles
  • transmission dynamics
  • parasite taxonomy
  • parasite evolution

Published Papers (1 paper)

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15 pages, 1200 KiB  
Current Applications of Digital PCR in Veterinary Parasitology: An Overview
by Constantina N. Tsokana, Isaia Symeonidou, Georgios Sioutas, Athanasios I. Gelasakis and Elias Papadopoulos
Parasitologia 2023, 3(3), 269-283; - 6 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1742
Digital PCR (dPCR) is an emerging technology that enables the absolute quantification of the targeted nucleic acids. The body of research on the potential applications of this novel tool is growing in human and veterinary medicine. Most of the research on dPCR applications [...] Read more.
Digital PCR (dPCR) is an emerging technology that enables the absolute quantification of the targeted nucleic acids. The body of research on the potential applications of this novel tool is growing in human and veterinary medicine. Most of the research on dPCR applications in veterinary parasitology is concentrated on developing and validating new assays to detect and quantify parasites of great financial impact in the food-producing animal industry. Several studies describe the utility of dPCR for individualized medicine in companion animals. Most frequently, dPCR performance is assessed compared to quantitative PCR or Next Generation Sequencing platforms, while others also compare the accuracy of dPCR with traditional parasitological techniques considered gold standard methods. Other researchers describe dPCR assays for surveillance purposes, species identification, and quantification in mixed parasitic infections, the detection of mutations indicative of anthelmintic resistance, and the identification of new targets for drug development. This review provides an overview of the studies that employed dPCR in investigating animal parasites and parasitic diseases from a veterinary perspective and discusses how this novel technology could advance and facilitate diagnosis, surveillance, and the monitoring of response to treatment, or shed light on current gaps in our knowledge of the epidemiology of significant veterinary parasitic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Molecular Epidemiology of Parasites)
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