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Parasitology. 2009 Jan;136(1):107-15. doi: 10.1017/S0031182008005258.

Angiostrongylus vasorum from South America and Europe represent distinct lineages.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK.


Angiostrongylus vasorum is a nematode parasite of sylvan and domestic species of the family Canidae. It has a broad but patchy distribution worldwide, and there is evidence for geographical spread and increasing incidence of infection in recent years. While historically Angiostrongylus-like nematodes identified in dogs and foxes have been described as A. vasorum in Europe and Angiocaulus raillieti in South America, more recent taxonomic revision has amalgamated these into a single species, A. vasorum. Here we report, for the first time, the molecular characterization of isolates of A. vasorum from Germany, Portugal, Denmark and the United Kingdom on the basis of the mitochondrial COI gene and the second ribosomal internal transcribed spacer. When compared with isolates from Brazil, sequence analysis revealed 2 distinct genotypes. Estimated rates of evolution based on COI sequences for both nematode and host are consistent with the hypothesis that the presence of A. vasorum in South America is a result of an ancient evolutionary event. Angiostrongylus vasorum in South America potentially represents a separate species to that observed in Europe.

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