SUMMARY: Researchers in this study looked at the diversity of Entamoeba in 3 different species of cockroaches (the American roach, the Dubia roach, and the Madagascar hissing roach) by looking at SSU rDNA in the ground up intestines of the cockroaches. They found that the Entamoebas could be divided into three large clades and showed much more genetic diversity than the Entamoebas found in vertebrates. They were unable to grow the Entamoeba outside of the roaches intestines and therefore, were unable to do further genetic testing (whole genome testing, for one).
LESSON COMMENTS: If you’re covering a lesson on clades, taxonomy, phylogenetics, and the different ways to genetically map organisms, this article covers all those topics. Students will first need to understand the concept of base pairs, sequences, and SSU rDNA. For classes that cover various gene amplification techniques, this article uses both PCR and nested PCR in their methodology. One question that teachers can pose is: what is the difference and why would a study like this (where you’re grinding up cockroach intestines to find entamoeba) use nested PCR?
Kawano, T., Imada, M., Chamavit, P., Kobayashi, S., Hashimoto, T., & Nozaki, T. (2017). Genetic diversity of Entamoeba: Novel ribosomal lineages from cockroaches. PloS one, 12(9), e0185233. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185233