Molecular characterisation of intermediate snail hosts and the search for resistance genes

D Rollinson, J R Stothard, Catherine Sue Jones, Anne Elizabeth Lockyer, C P de Souza, Leslie Robert Noble

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The relationship between schistosomes and their intermediate hosts is an extremely intricate one with strains and species of the parasite depending on particular species of snail, which in turn may vary in their susceptibility to the parasites. In order to gain a better understanding of the epidemiology of the disease we have been investigating the use of molecular markers for snail identification and for studying host-parasite relationships. In this paper we will draw on examples concerning schistosomiasis in West and East Africa to illustrate how a molecular analysis can be used as part of a "total evidence" approach to characterisation of Bulinus species and provide insights into parasite transmission. Particular emphasis is given to ribosomal RNA genes (rRNA), random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs) and the mitochondrial gene cytochrome oxidase I (COI). Snails resistant to infection occur naturally and there is a genetic basis for this resistance. III Biomphalaria glabrata resistance to Schistosoma mansoni is known? to be a polygenic trait and we have initiated a preliminary search for snail genomic regions linked to, or involved in, resistance by using a RAPD based approach in conjunction with progeny pooling methods. We ar-e currently characterising a variety of STSs (sequence tagged sites) associated with resistance. These can be used for local linkage and interval mapping to define genomic regions associated with the resistance trait. The development of such markers into simple dot-blot or specific PCR-based assays may have a direct and practical application for the identification of resistant snails in natural populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalMemorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Bulinus
  • Biomphalaria
  • molecular systematics
  • epidemiology
  • DNA

Cite this

Rollinson, D., Stothard, J. R., Jones, C. S., Lockyer, A. E., de Souza, C. P., & Noble, L. R. (1998). Molecular characterisation of intermediate snail hosts and the search for resistance genes. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 93, 111-116.