Folia Parasitologica, vol. 62 (2015)

Folia Parasitologica 62:063 (2015) | 10.14411/fp.2015.063

How many species of whipworms do we share? Whipworms from man and other primates form two phylogenetic lineages

Jana Doležalová1,2,3,±, Miroslav Oborník4,5,±, Eva Hajdušková4, Milan Jirků4, Klára J. Petrželková2,4,6,7, Petra Bolechová7,8, Cristina Cutillas9, Rocio Callejón9, Jozef Jaroš10, Zuzana Beránková11, David Modrý2,3,4
1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic;
2 Department of Pathology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic;
3 CEITEC - Central European Institute of Technology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic;
4 Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic;
5 Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic;
6 Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic;
7 Liberec Zoo, Liberec, Czech Republic;
8 Department of Husbandry and Ethology of Animals, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic;
9 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Sevilla University, Sevilla, Spain; 10 Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic;

The whipworms, i.e. parasitic nematodes of the genus Trichuris Roederer, 1761, infect a variety of mammals. Apparently low diversity of primate-infecting species of Trichuris strongly contrasts with the high number of species described in other mammalian hosts. The present study addresses the diversity of whipworms in captive and free-ranging primates and humans by analysing nuclear (18S rRNA, ITS2) and mitochondrial (cox1) DNA. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that primate whipworms form two independent lineages: (i) the Trichuris trichiura (Linnaeus, 1771) clade comprised of genetically almost identical whipworms from human and other primates, which suggests the ability of T. trichiura to infect a broader range of primates; (ii) a clade containing primarily Trichuris suis Schrank, 1788, where isolates from human and various primates formed a sister group to isolates from pigs; the former isolates thus may represent of more species of Trichuris in primates including humans. The analysis of cox1 has shown the polyphyly of the genera Trichuris and Capillaria, Zeder, 1800. High sequence similarity of the T. trichiura isolates from humans and other primates suggests their zoonotic potential, although the extent of transmission between human and other non-human primates remains questionable and requires further study.

Keywords: Trichuris, phylogeny, diversity, zoonotic potential, humans

Received: September 2, 2014; Accepted: September 8, 2015; Published online: December 3, 2015


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