Folia Parasitologica, vol. 62 (2015)

Folia Parasitologica 62:060 (2015) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2015.060

Influence of life history traits on the population genetic structure of parasitic helminths: a minireview

Severo Vázquez-Prieto1,2, Román Vilas3, Esperanza Paniagua1, Florencio M. Ubeira1
1 Laboratorio de Parasitología, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain;
2 Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Temuco, Chile;
3 Departamento de Genética, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Parasite life history traits influence the rate of gene flow between populations and the effective population size, both of which determine the levels of genetic variability and the geographic distribution of such variability. In this short review targeted to parasitologists, we summarise how life history traits influence the population genetic structure of parasitic helminths. These organisms are characterised by a wide variety of life cycles and are ecologically different from microparasites, which have been studied in more detail. In order to provide the reader a concise review that illustrates key aspects of the subject matter, we have limited ourselves to studying examples selected for their clarity and relevance.

Keywords: reproduction modes, mating systems, long-lived infective stages, differences in longevity and generation time, parasitism intensity, host specificity, host mobility, life cycle complexity, transmission environment

Received: March 10, 2015; Accepted: September 22, 2015; Published online: November 6, 2015


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