Co-evolutionary theory proposes that polymorphisms in co-evolved traits may be maintained through differential selection in spatially heterogeneous environments. Spatial heterogeneity of the schistosome intermediate host, Biomphalaria pfeifferi, was investigated here, using RAPD markers. Overall, 256 individuals, collected at 32 sites on 13 rivers in the Chiweshe region of Zimbabwe, were analysed. Significant genetic differentiation was demonstrated, both between populations from the different rivers and between populations collect ed at different sites on each of several of the rivers investigated. However, the presence of spatial differentiation between populations from individual rivers varied with river type. It was not apparent in permanent, deep, fast-flowing rivers, where high levels of migration, through passive dispersal along the rivers, are likely. The snails collected from shallow, semi-permanent rivers not only showed relatively high levels of population subdivision but also high levels of within-site genetic diversity, consistent with the existence of co-evolutionary hot-spots' where schistosome infection may be prevalent. These results are discussed with reference to the population biology of B. pfeifferi and to host-parasite co-evolution.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
- RAPD MARKERS