Fasciola hepatica demonstrates high levels of genetic diversity, a lack of population structure and high gene flow: possible implications for drug resistance



Beesley, NJ ORCID: 0000-0003-0557-1833, Williams, DJL ORCID: 0000-0001-8186-7236, Paterson, S ORCID: 0000-0002-1307-2981 and Hodgkinson, J ORCID: 0000-0001-9152-8481
(2017) Fasciola hepatica demonstrates high levels of genetic diversity, a lack of population structure and high gene flow: possible implications for drug resistance. International Journal for Parasitology, 47 (1). 11 - 20.

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Abstract

Fasciola hepatica, the liver fluke, is a trematode parasite of considerable economic importance to the livestock industry and is a re-emerging zoonosis that poses a risk to human health in F. hepatica-endemic areas worldwide. Drug resistance is a substantial threat to the current and future control of F. hepatica, yet little is known about how the biology of the parasite influences the development and spread of resistance. Given that F. hepatica can self-fertilise and therefore inbreed, there is the potential for greater population differentiation and an increased likelihood of recessive alleles, such as drug resistance genes, coming together. This could be compounded by clonal expansion within the snail intermediate host and aggregation of parasites of the same genotype on pasture. Alternatively, widespread movement of animals that typically occurs in the UK could promote high levels of gene flow and prevent population differentiation. We identified clonal parasites with identical multilocus genotypes in 61% of hosts. Despite this, 84% of 1579 adult parasites had unique multilocus genotypes, which supports high levels of genotypic diversity within F. hepatica populations. Our analyses indicate a selfing rate no greater than 2%, suggesting that this diversity is in part due to the propensity for F. hepatica to cross-fertilise. Finally, although we identified high genetic diversity within a given host, there was little evidence for differentiation between populations from different hosts, indicating a single panmictic population. This implies that, once those emerge, anthelmintic resistance genes have the potential to spread rapidly through liver fluke populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fasciola hepatica, Population genetics, Anthelmintic resistance, Diversity, Self-fertilisation, Gene flow, Microsatellites
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 10:22
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 10:19
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.09.007
Related URLs:
URI: http://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3003424