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Vet Parasitol. 2011 Aug 25;180(3-4):226-31. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.03.019. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Susceptibility of Biomphalaria spp. to infection with Schistosoma mansoni in sympatric and allopatric combinations with observations on the genetic variability between snails.

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  • 1Biology Department, Faculty of Science, King Khaled University, Abha 61413, PO Box 9004, Saudi Arabia.


This investigation was carried out to study the susceptibility of Saudi Biomphalaria arabica to Egyptian Schistosoma mansoni in comparison with the susceptibility of Egyptian Biomphalaria alexandrina to the same parasite. This was in order to know the possibility that the parasite might be able to spread into Saudi Arabia and to determine the genetic variability between Egyptian B. alexandrina and Saudi Biomphalaria arabica snails. Lab bred Egyptian B. alexandrina and Saudi B. arabica snails were exposed individually to 10 freshly hatched Egyptian S. mansoni miracidia/snail. The mortality rate, infection rate, prepatent period, duration of cercarial shedding and cercariae production per snail were recorded in both the sympatric couple (Egyptian B. alexandrina and Egyptian S. mansoni) and in the allopatric combination (Saudi B. arabica and Egyptian S. mansoni). The results revealed that, the survival rate of snails exposed to Egyptian S. mansoni miracidia at 34th day post-exposure (at first cercarial shedding) was higher in B. arabica than in B. alexandrina. After shedding, the mortality rate was higher in the B. arabica, compared to B. alexandrina. The infection rate was higher in B. arabica than B. alexandrina; the mean of prepatent period was shorter in the B. arabica than in the B. alexandrina. However, the duration of cercarial shedding was longer in the Egyptian snails and the cercarial production per snail was higher in B. alexandrina snails than in B. arabica. To study the genetic variability between B. alexandrina and B. arabica, RAPD-PCR on the genomic DNA of snails was done. RAPD-PCR revealed significant variation between the two snail species. In conclusion, the results suggest that B. arabica can play a role in the transmission of Egyptian S. mansoni in Saudi Arabia and therefore this parasite might be able to spread into the Kingdom. In addition, the RAPD-PCR results demonstrated genetic variability between the two species which may be related to the differences in susceptibility of both Saudi and Egyptian Biomphalaria snails to Egyptian S. mansoni infection.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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