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C R Biol. 2003 Jun;326(6):565-74.

The geographical segregation of human lice preceded that of Pediculus humanus capitis and Pediculus humanus humanus.

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Unité des Rickettsies, IFR48, CNRS UMR 6020, faculté de médecine, université de la Méditerranée, 27, bd Jean-Moulin, 13385 Marseille, France.


In order to investigate human-louse phylogeny, we partially sequenced two nuclear (18S rRNA and EF-1 alpha) and one mitochondrial (COI) genes from 155 Pediculus from different geographical origins. The phylogenetic analysis of 18S rRNA and EF-1 alpha sequences showed that human lice were classified into lice from Sub-Saharan Africa and lice from other areas. In both clusters, head and body lice were clearly grouped into two separate clusters. Our results indicate that the earliest divergence within human pediculidae occurred between African lice and other lice, and the divergence between head and body lice was not the result from a single event.

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