Comparing the population genetic structure of snail hosts and their schistosome parasites in Northern Senegal

Mon9  Apr04:45pm(15 mins)
Stream 3 - Physics 0.15 Main


T Huyse4; N Boon1; N Smitz4; A Di Scicio4; B Kanage6; D Faye5; F Volckaert6; K Polman3; F Van den Broeck2
1 Belgian Scientific Institute for Public Health, Belgium;  2 Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium;  3 Institute Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium;  4 Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium;  5 Sante Plus Dakar, Belgium;  6 University of Leuven, Belgium


The epidemiology of schistosomiasis in northern Senegal is changing. Schistosoma mansoni was the dominant parasite at the onset of the epidemic in the early nineties, but has nowadays in many places been overtaken by the urinary species S. haematobium. Moreover, molecular analyses revealed that children were infected with S. haematobium x S. bovis hybrids, the latter being a livestock parasite. Here we want to compare the population genetic structure of the two main schistosome species and their respective snail host species in order to understand the role of vector co-adaptation, colonization history and hybridization on schistosome transmission dynamics.

Our results revealed limited S. haematobium gene flow between the Middle Valley and the other regions in Northern Senegal, as is the case for one of the bulinid snail hosts. This contrasts with the panmictic population structure found for both S. mansoni and the snail host B. pfeifferi. We discuss this contrasting resultin relation to the presence and genetic constitution of the intermediate snail hosts, and the colonisation history of the parasites.

We found no evidence that hybridization influenced the genetic make-up of S. haematobium populations in Senegal. Human schistosomes with a S. bovis mitochondrial haplotype could not be differentiated from schistosomes with a S. haematobium mitochondrial haplotypeas revealed by 17 nuclear microsatellite markers. In addition, no first generation hybrids were found. This suggests limited gene flow between human and cattle parasite populations, and that hybridization does not lead to a barrier breakdown between both species in this area.


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