Bi6330 General parasitology

Faculty of Science
Spring 2022
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 2 credit(s) (fasci plus compl plus > 4). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Taught in person.
prof. RNDr. Milan Gelnar, CSc. (lecturer)
prof. RNDr. Andrea Vetešníková Šimková, PhD. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. RNDr. Andrea Vetešníková Šimková, PhD.
Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Contact Person: prof. RNDr. Andrea Vetešníková Šimková, PhD.
Supplier department: Department of Botany and Zoology - Biology Section - Faculty of Science
Prerequisites (in Czech)
Bi1030 Inverteb. phylog. & divers.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The aim of the course is to provide to students a basic overview of parasitism (definition of parasitism, origin and evolution of parasitism, ecological status and classification of parasites, adaptations to parasitic life in unicellular and multicellular parasites – characteristics of basic morphological structures and their physiological functions, host immunity and parasitism, basics of parasite biochemistry).
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be able to: define parasitism and basic strategies of parasites, explain the origin of parasitism and the fundamental changes associated with evolution from free-living organisms to parasitic organisms, describe morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations of basic parasitic groups, interpret basic knowledge of parasitic diversity and classify basic types of parasitic communities, explain the concept of host specificity, define basic characters of the parasite populations, describe the basic components of host immunity and interpret the selected relationships between host immunity and parasite infection, consider the host immunity from the evolutionary point of view, describe basic differences in the metabolism of free-living parasitic stages, and host-associated parasite stages in the case of complex development cycle.
  • (1) Introduction, scope and importance of parasitism, origin and evolution of parasitism, parasite-host coevolution, changes associated with the transition from free-living to parasitic way organism, evolution of life cycles, evolution of demographic parameters of parasites. (2) Ecological delimitation of parasitism – host-parasite interactions from an ecological point of view. Classification of parasites and hosts. Life strategy of parasites. Ecological delimitation of parasites. Influence of abiotic and biotic factors on the parasitic infection. Interaction of parasites. (3) Morphology. Protozoa: cell structure, movement and penetration, cell surface, peritrophic membrane. Body building of multicellular parasites, tegument, muscle system, digestive system, excretory system, reproductive system, nervous system. (4) Reproduction - Protozoa: types of cell division, formation and fusion of gametes, Metazoa: reproduction in Platyhelminthes, Acanthocephala, Nematoda, Pentastomida, Crustacea, Arthropoda. Life cycles and host-parasites relationship, reproductive and colonization strategies. (5) Parasitic physiology and nutrition, penetration and survival in the host organism, reproduction physiology, chemical communication, neurophysiology, locomotion physiology, parasitic nutrition. (6) Epidemiology of parasitic diseases. Definition of parasite populations and their basis characteristics. Transmission and dissemination of parasites, basic reproduction rate, population dynamics. Basic epidemiological models. (7) Diversity of parasites. Basic types of parasitic communities and their characteristics. The basic gradients of the global diversity of parasites. Factors determining diversity at community level - the role of competition. (8) Manipulation of the host phenotype. Parasites induced changes in host behavior. Manipulation in case of multiple parasite infections. (9) Host immunity in relation to parasitic infection. Host immune response - basic characteristics, interaction of host immunity and parasites, escape from host immune response. (10) Evolutionary immunology of parasite-host relationships. Ecology of parasitic diseases. Pathogenicity and virulence. Evolution of host immunity and role of parasitism - cost of host immunity, trade-off between immunity and other components of the host's life history, the role of parasite in host reproduction. (11) Basics of biochemistry of parasites, differences in metabolism (carbohydrates, lipids, fats, nucleic acids) between free-living and parasitic stages, host-parasite biochemical interactions. Biochemical components of virulence of parasitic diseases. Detoxification in parasites. (12) Molecular biology and genetics of parasites, DNA and RNA technology, gene expression and regulation, vaccination, molecular diagnostics of parasitic diseases.
  • Základy parazitologie. Edited by Bohumil Ryšavý. 1. vyd. Praha: Státní pedagogické nakladatelství, 1989. 215 s. ISBN 8004208649. info
  • SMYTH, James Desmond. Introduction to animal parasitology. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. xx, 549 s. ISBN 0-521-42811-4. info
  • Modern parasitology : a textbook of parasitology. Edited by Francis E. G. Cox. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell scientific publications, 1993. xii, 276. ISBN 0632025859. info
Teaching methods
Theoretical lectures, discussion with students, practical examples
Assessment methods
oral exam
Language of instruction
Follow-Up Courses
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course can also be completed outside the examination period.
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
Listed among pre-requisites of other courses
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2008 - for the purpose of the accreditation, Spring 2011 - only for the accreditation, Autumn 2002, Autumn 2003, Autumn 2004, Spring 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, spring 2012 - acreditation, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2022, recent)
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