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Karyotype plasticity in Neotropical Leishmania: an index for measuring genomic distance among L. (V.) peruviana and L. (V.) braziliensis populations

  • J. C. Dujardin (a1), J. P. Dujardin (a2), M. Tibayrenc (a2), G. Timperman (a1), S. De Doncker (a1), D. Jacquet (a1), J. Arevalo (a3), A. Llanos-Cuentas (a3), H. Guerra (a3), H. Bermudez (a4), R. Hamers (a5) and D. Le Ray (a1)...


A method for phenetic analysis of karyotype data has been developed for Leishmania populations. Measurement of size difference between chromosomes recognized by a given DNA probe in different isolates led to the formulation of a Chromosome Size Difference Index (CSDI). The method was applied to phenetic analysis of 4 sets of chromosomes – each set being recognized by a different probe – in 37 L. (Viannia) peruviana isolates sampled along a North–South transect through the Peruvian Andes and, in 11 L. (V.) braziliensis isolates from the Amazonian forest (Peru, Bolivia and Brazil). Karyotype variability was better accounted for by CSDI than by a method based on disjunctive encoding of karyotype data. CSDI evidenced the nature of relationships between L. braziliensis and L. peruviana and it provided a coherent picture of geographical and genomic differentiation among parasite populations. The latter did cluster according to their geographical origin. L. braziliensis was found karyotypically more homogeneous than L. peruviana. Within L. peruviana, Northern populations were closer to L. braziliensis than to Southern L. peruviana populations. The validity of karyotypic populations, or karyodemes, was sustained.



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