School of Veterinary Medicine

Comparative Pathology Lab

Molecular Diagnostics

PCR Technician

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology is a large part of the diagnostic services offered at CPL. This amplification technology is extremely sensitive, and able to detect DNA from fastidious organisms that are either present in small quantitites, or are extremely difficult to quickly grow and isolate.

Primary workload is focused on rodent colony pathogens, however we perform other diagnostic assays, as listed below. We are currently in the process of optimizing specific PCR assays for both Aspicularis and Syphacia pinworm species, and various fur mite species, such as Myocoptes, Myobia and Radfordia. These are parasites significant to rodent colony management. As we have fish pathology expertise in-house, we are planning to develop additional PCR assays for significant zebrafish colony pathogens. Please inquire with us on pricing.

For facilities engaged in implant research, we can also assay cell culture preparations, embryonic stem cells (ESC) or other biologics that require screening before project use.  Environmental swabs or rodent cage filters in sterile saline may also be evaluated.

We accept cell culture media for contamination screening, fecal samples, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, lymph nodes and other organ tissues for analysis. We can also extract DNA from paraffin-embedded tissues or scrolls for PCR assays.

Organisms we commonly screen for are:

  • Helicobacter species (most often from fecal pellets or cecal contents & tissue)
  • Mycoplasma species (most often on ESC and lung tissue)
  • Pneumocystis carinii (on tracheal washes and lung tissue)
  • Encephalitozoon cunniculi (on urine and CSF, usually rabbits)
  • Mouse Parvo Virus & Mouse Hepatitis Virus (on feces, mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen)
  • Q-Fever (Coxiella burnetii infections in sheep, goats and cattle on amniotic fluid, placenta tissue or buffy-coat preparations)

Rapid and specific screenings for viral, bacteriological and parasite pathogens are accomplished on our group of dedicated instruments, in areas specifically set aside for molecular diagnostics.

PCR Technician

For special molecular diagnostic procedures involving organisms not specifically mentioned, please feel free to call and inquire. We periodically develop assays for additional organisms, so our assay menus are evolving.

Thermalcyclers