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QTL mapping of a natural genetic polymorphism for long-term parasite persistence in Daphnia populations



Knowing the determinants of the geographic ranges of parasites is important for understanding their evolutionary ecology, epidemiology and their potential to expand their range. Here we explore the determinants of geographic range in the peculiar case of a parasite species – the microsporidian Hamiltosporidium tvaerminnensis – that has a limited geographic distribution in a wide-spread host – Daphnia magna. We conducted a quantitative trait loci (QTLs) analysis with monoclonal F2 D. magna populations originating from a cross between a susceptible northern European genotype and a resistant central European genotype. Contrary to our expectations, long-term persistence turned out to be a quantitative trait across the F2 offspring. Evidence for two QTLs, one epistatic interaction and for further minor QTL was found. This finding contrasts markedly with the previously described bimodal pattern for long-term parasite persistence in natural host genotypes across Europe and leaves open the question of how a quantitative genetic trait could determine the disjunct geographic distribution of the parasite across Europe.


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*Corresponding author: Zoological Institute, Basel University, Vesalgasse 1, Basel, Switzerland. E-mail:


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QTL mapping of a natural genetic polymorphism for long-term parasite persistence in Daphnia populations



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