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Parasitology. 2012 Dec;139(14):1966-74. doi: 10.1017/S0031182012000662. Epub 2012 May 1.

Phylogeography helps with investigating the building of human parasite communities.

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Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554 CNRS-IRD-UM2, CC65, Université de Montpellier 2, F-34095 Montpellier, France.


Phylogeography of parasites and microbes is a recent field. Phylogeographic studies have been performed mostly to test three major hypotheses that are not mutually exclusive on the origins and distributions of human parasites and microbes: (1) the "out of Africa" pattern where parasites are supposed to have followed the dispersal and expansion of modern humans in and out of Africa, (2) the "domestication" pattern where parasites were captured in the domestication centres and dispersed through them and (3) the "globalization" pattern, in relation to historical and more recent trade routes. With some exceptions, such studies of human protozoans, helminths and ectoparasites are quite limited. The conclusion emphasizes the need to acquire more phylogeographic data in non-Occidental countries, and particularly in Asia where all the animal domestications took place.

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