Coccidiosis in chickens is caused by 7 species of Eimeria. Even though coccidiosis is a complex disease that can be caused by any combination of these species, most of the molecular research concerning chicken coccidiosis has been limited to Eimeria tenella. The present study describes the first large-scale analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) generated primarily from second-stage merozoites (and schizonts) of E. acervulina. In total, 1,847 ESTs were sequenced; these represent 1,026 unique sequences. Approximately half of the ESTs encode proteins of unknown function, or hypothetical proteins. Twenty-nine percent of the E. acervulina ESTs share significant sequence identity with sequences in the E. tenella genome. Additionally, EST hits seem to be much different compared with those of E. tenella. One of the differences is the very low number of ESTs that encode putative microneme proteins. This study underlines the potential differences in the molecular aspects of 2 Eimeria species that in the past were thought to be highly similar in nature.

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