Molecular Phylogenetics of Schistosome-Transmitting Snails

With the involvement of Dr. Gerald Mkoji (web page), Dr. Jess Morgan and Dr. Randy DeJong, as part of our studies to document relationships among schistosomes, we also have examined the evolutionary relationships among freshwater snails of the family Planorbidae that play such a prominent role in schistosome transmission (Abstract). We have undertaken studies of the relationships among species of Biomphalaria from across the globe (Abstract). Our work suggests this genus of snails originated in South America and later colonized Africa, very likely providing the impetus for the emergence of the distinct human parasite, Schistosoma mansoni. We also have looked at a finer level of detail to reveal phylogeographic relationships among samples of the two most important hosts for S. mansoni: B. pfeifferi from sub-Saharan Africa and B. glabrata from the Neotropics (Abstract).

We sincerely thank the NIH for grants IP20RR18754 from the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program of the National Center for Research Resources and AI24340 and AI44913 that enable many of the studies reported here.


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