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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Aug;5(8):e1281. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001281. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Genetic diversity and population structure of the secondary symbiont of tsetse flies, Sodalis glossinidius, in sleeping sickness foci in Cameroon.

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  • 1UMR 177, IRD-CIRAD, CIRAD TA A-17/G, Campus International de Baillarguet, Montpellier, France.



Previous studies have shown substantial differences in Sodalis glossinidius and trypanosome infection rates between Glossina palpalis palpalis populations from two Cameroonian foci of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Bipindi and Campo. We hypothesized that the geographical isolation of the two foci may have induced independent evolution in the two areas, resulting in the diversification of symbiont genotypes.


To test this hypothesis, we investigated the symbiont genetic structure using the allelic size variation at four specific microsatellite loci. Classical analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) and differentiation statistics revealed that most of the genetic diversity was observed among individuals within populations and frequent haplotypes were shared between populations. The structure of genetic diversity varied at different geographical scales, with almost no differentiation within the Campo HAT focus and a low but significant differentiation between the Campo and Bipindi HAT foci.


The data provided new information on the genetic diversity of the secondary symbiont population revealing mild structuring. Possible interactions between S. glossinidius subpopulations and Glossina species that could favor tsetse fly infections by a given trypanosome species should be further investigated.

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