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Parasitol Res. 2013 Jul;112(7):2661-6. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3433-0. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

The origin of the giant liver fluke, Fascioloides magna (Trematoda: Fasciolidae) from Croatia determined by high-resolution melting screening of mitochondrial cox1 haplotypes.

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Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Hlinkova 3, 04001 Košice, Slovak Republic.


The high-resolution melting (HRM) method, recently optimized as a reliable technique for population study of the European Fascioloides magna populations, was applied to determine an origin of F. magna individuals from Croatia. The structure and frequency of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (439 bp; cox1) haplotypes of 200 Croatian flukes coming from 19 red deer (Cervus elaphus elaphus) livers were screened and compared with recently determined reference samples of F. magna from all European foci-Italy, Czech Republic, and Danube floodplain forests. While the reference haplotypes Ha1 and Ha2 were specific for flukes from the first European focus of fascioloidosis, the Natural Park La Mandria in Italy, the remaining three haplotypes (Ha3, Ha4, and Ha5) represented parasites from the second focus, Czech Republic. Besides, Ha3 and Ha4 were found also in the third, latest, and still expanding European focus, the Danube floodplain forests. The HRM screening of cox1 haplotypes of Croatian F. magna individuals resulted in classification of samples into the two mitochondrial haplogroups characterized by well-distinguished melting curves. They corresponded to Ha3 and Ha4 reference haplotypes that confirmed the Danube origin of F. magna from Croatia. The results support the theory that the Danube floodplain forests population of F. magna represents uniform genetic pool of the parasite. The spread of F. magna alongside the Danube River down to Croatia was possible due to suitable ecological conditions for definitive and intermediate hosts present in this unique biotope.

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