Population genetic analysis of the ovine parasitic nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta and evidence for a cryptic species

Victoria Grillo, Frank Jackson, Jacques Cabaret, John Stuart Gilleard

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62 Citations (Scopus)


An understanding of genetic variation in parasite populations, and how it is partitioned, is required to underpin many areas of basic and applied research. Population genetic studies on parasitic nematode populations are still in their infancy and have been dominated by the use of single locus markers. We have used a panel of five microsatellite markers to undertake a genetic study of a number of field and laboratory populations of Teladorsagia circumcincta. High levels of polymorphism were seen in all the populations examined with the majority of diversity being within rather than between populations. There was no detectable genetic differentiation between the UK populations examined although they included both laboratory passaged and field isolates derived from different geographical regions and host species. This broadly supports previous mtDNA sequence diversity studies of this parasite in the UK and USA. However, some between-population genetic differentiation was apparent when several populations from French goats and a laboratory population from New Zealand were examined. Most notably, a population from a French goat farm, which has previously been suggested to contain a cryptic species, showed very high levels of genetic differentiation from all the other populations. Analysis of multi-locus genotypes suggested the presence of two sympatric parasite populations on this farm with little or no gene flow between them. This supports the hypothesis that parasites currently defined as T. circumcincta by routine morphological criteria comprise more than a single species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-447
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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