A method applying high-resolution melt (HRM) analysis to PCR products copied and amplified from extracellular RNA (exRNA) has been developed to distinguish two morphologically similar Peromyscus species: Peromyscus leucopus and Peromyscus maniculatus. P. leucopus is considered the primary reservoir host of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent for Lyme disease in North America. In northern Minnesota the habitat ranges of P. leucopus overlaps with that of P. maniculatus. Serum samples from live mice of both species were collected from cheek bleeds, total extracellular RNA (exRNA) was extracted, copied using reverse transcription and amplified by PCR followed by HRM analysis. A circulating ribosomal RNA (rRNA) was identified which differed at seven nucleotides between the two species and a method of HRM analysis was developed allowing rapid species confirmation. In the future, this HRM based method may be adapted for additional species.
- 16S mitochondrial ribosomal RNA
- Extracellular RNA
- High resolution melt
- Peromyscus leucopus
- Peromyscus maniculatus