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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2007 Oct;101(7):621-41.

Characterisation of Lymnaea cubensis, L. viatrix and L. neotropica n. sp., the main vectors of Fasciola hepatica in Latin America, by analysis of their ribosomal and mitochondrial DNA.

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Departamento de Parasitología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valencia, Avenida Vicente Andrés Estellés s/n, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain.


Although, in the endemic areas throughout the world, human fascioliasis presents varying patterns in its epidemiology, the species of lymnaeid snail that act as intermediate hosts and vectors are always crucial in the transmission of the causative parasites. Species in the Galba/Fossaria group of snails, such as Lymnaea cubensis, L. viatrix var. A ventricosa, L. viatrix var. B elongata and Galba truncatula, appear to be frequently involved in the transmission of Fasciola hepatica in Central and South America, although specific classification within this morphologically and anatomically confusing group is often very difficult. To explore the potential use of molecular analyses in the identification of vector snails, regions of the ribosomal DNA - the small subunit (18S) gene and internal transcribed spacers (ITS-2 and ITS-1) - and of the mitochondrial DNA - the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) - of wild-caught lymnaeid snails of L. cubensis, L. viatrix var. A ventricosa, L. viatrix var. B elongata and G. truncatula have been sequenced. The samples of the Latin American species included specimens from the respective type localities. The genetic distances observed and the results of phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that two different species exist within L. viatrix. Lymnaea neotropica n. sp. (=L. viatrix var. B elongata) is here proposed for specimens from Lima, Peru, and is differentiated from L. viatrix (=L. viatrix var. A ventricosa), L. cubensis and G. truncatula. The data collected on the 18S ribosomal-RNA gene indicate that the snails investigated may cover more than one supraspecific taxon. The ITS-2, ITS-1 and COI nucleotide sequences are clearly useful markers for the differentiation of these morpho-anatomically similar lymnaeid species. The numerous microsatellite repeats found within ITS-2 are potential tools for differentiation at population level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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