Uncovering the identity of the living laboratory: A combined approach of COI gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the African giant pouched rats
Keywords:: Laboratory, Tuberculosis, gambianus, landmmines, Cytochrome, subunit I, Oxidase
The African giant pouched rats belongs to the genus Cricetomys and they are exploited to aid the detection of landmines in landmine affected areas in different countries, and for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis in health laboratories. These rats are usually captured within Morogoro Tanzania and trained at Sokoine University of Agriculture before deploymemt for actual action. However there is a dearth of information on the taxonomy and phylogeny of Cricetomys species occurring in Tanzania. This study used phenotypic appearance, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and sequensing of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene from one hundred and twenty African giant pouched rats trapped from the wild to characterize and identify the phenotypes and identity of the rats. Two groups were identified based on colour of the pelage; the grey group 68% (n=82) and brown group 32% (n=38). The phylogeny and molecular evolutionary analyses revealed the maximum nucleotides homology of 100% and minimum of 97.3% with Cricetomys gambianus despite the differences in their pelage colour. This study identified the esistence of Cricetomys gambianus species as a dominant species in Morogoro Municipality.
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