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Linkage between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences in avian malaria parasites: Multiple cases of cryptic speciation?

Author:
  • Staffan Bensch
  • Javier Perez-Tris
  • Jonas Waldenström
  • Olof Hellgren
Publishing year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 1617-1621
Publication/Series: Evolution
Volume: 58
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome b diversity among avian blood parasites of the genera Haemoproteus and Plasmodium suggest that there might be as many lineages of parasites as there are species of birds. This is in sharp contrast to the approximately 175 parasite species described by traditional methods based on morphology using light microscopy. Until now it has not been clear to what extent parasite mitochondrial DNA lineage diversity reflects intra- or interspecific variation. We have sequenced part of a fast-evolving nuclear gene, dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS), and demonstrate that most of the parasite mitochondrial DNA lineages are associated with unique gene copies at this locus. Although these parasite lineages sometimes coexist in the same host individual, they apparently do not recombine and could therefore be considered as functionally distinct evolutionary entities, with independent evolutionary potential. Studies examining parasite virulence and host immune systems must consider this remarkable diversity of avian malaria parasites.

Keywords

  • Evolutionary Biology

Other

Published
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1558-5646
Staffan Bensch
E-mail: staffan [dot] bensch [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Head of unit

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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