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The epidemiology and genetic variability of 2 parasitic nematodes
Heligmosomoides polygyrus and Syphacia stroma of
Apodemus spp. were investigated. Both are parasites of the same
host, exhibit a direct life-cycle and are dioecious. However,
H. polygyrus has a diploid and S. stroma a haplodiploid
mode of reproduction. Haplodiploidy may lead to a more female
biased sex ratio and reduced genetic variability. Levels of genetic diversity
were analysed using both isoenzyme
electrophoresis and RAPDs (random amplified polymorphic DNA). Both parasites
showed a female biased sex ratio with
a stronger bias for the haplodiploid parasite. Results showed significantly
fewer genetic polymorphisms as measured by
RAPDs for the haplodiploid parasite S. stroma in comparison with
H. polygyrus. Despite the observed female biased sex
ratio this could not be explained by a significant amount of inbreeding.
Heterozygote deficiency for individual allozyme
loci – which could indicate inbreeding – was not found in either
parasite species. Other features of the particular life-history of these species are likely to have an impact on the sex ratio
and genetic variability too.
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