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The phylogeography of Asian Schistosoma (Trematoda: Schistosomatidae)

  • S. W. ATTWOOD (a1) (a2), E. S. UPATHAM (a2), X. H. MENG (a3), D.-C. QIU (a3) and V. R. SOUTHGATE (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2003

Partial (DNA) sequences are presented for 2 nuclear (18S and 28S rRNA genes) and 2 mitochondrial (12S rRNA and ND1 genes) loci for 5 species belonging to the Schistosoma japonicum, S. sinensium and S. indicum groups of Asian Schistosoma. Fresh field isolates were collected and cultured for the following taxa: S. incognitum (S. indicum group, central Thailand), S. mekongi (S. japonicum group, southern Laos), S. ovuncatum (S. sinensium group, northern Thailand), S. spindale (S. indicum group, northeast Thailand and central Thailand isolates) and S. sinensium (S. sinensium group, Sichuan Province, China). This represents the first published DNA sequence data for S. ovuncatum and for S. sinensiums.s. from the type locality in China. The paper also presents the first sequence data at the above loci for S. incognitum (except for the 28S sequences) and S. sinensium. Congruence was observed between the phylogenies estimated for each locus, although the relationships of S. incognitum were not so well resolved. Fitch–Margoliash, maximum likelihood (ML) and maximum parsimony methods were used to estimate the phylogenies and the agreement between them was similar to that observed between loci. The ML tree was considered to best represent the data and additional 28S sequences (taken from the GenBank), for S. haematobium, S. japonicum, S. mansoni and Orientobilharzia turkestanicum, were used to construct an overall phylogeny. The S. indicum group taxa showed considerable divergence from the other Asian species and closest affinity with the African group. S. ovuncatum and S. sinensium appeared as sister taxa but their status as sibling species remained supported. The findings are discussed in the context of phylogeographical hypotheses for the origin of Schistosoma. An Asian origin for Schistosoma is also considered.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. Tel: +44 (0)207 942 5490. Fax: +44 (0)207 942 5518. E-mail:
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