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Int J Parasitol. 2010 Mar 15;40(4):463-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Phylogenetic relationships of haemosporidian parasites in New World Columbiformes, with emphasis on the endemic Galapagos dove.

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  • 1University of Missouri - St. Louis, Department of Biology, One University Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63121, USA.


DNA-sequence analyses of avian haemosporidian parasites, primarily of passerine birds, have described the phylogenetic relationships of major groups of these parasites, which are in general agreement with morphological taxonomy. However, less attention has been paid to haemosporidian parasites of non-passerine birds despite morphological and DNA-sequence evidence for unique clades of parasites in these birds. Detection of haemosporidian parasites in the Galapagos archipelago has raised conservation concerns and prompted us to characterise the origins and diversity of these parasites in the Galapagos dove (Zenaida galapagoensis). We used partial mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) and apicoplast caseinolytic protease C (ClpC) genes to develop a phylogenetic hypothesis of relationships of haemosporidian parasites infecting New World Columbiformes, paying special attention to those parasites infecting the endemic Galapagos dove. We identified a well-supported and diverse monophyletic clade of haemosporidian parasites unique to Columbiformes, which belong to the sub-genus Haemoproteus (Haemoproteus). This is a sister clade to all the Haemoproteus (Parahaemoproteus) and Plasmodium parasites so far identified from birds as well as the Plasmodium parasites of mammals and reptiles. Our data suggest that the diverse Haemoproteus parasites observed in Galapagos doves are not endemic to the archipelago and likely represent multiple recent introductions.

(c) 2009 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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