A Genome Wide Comparison to Identify Markers to Differentiate the Sex of Larval Stages of Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma bovis and their Respective Hybrids

Abstract : For scientists working on gonochoric organisms, determining sex can be crucial for many biological questions and experimental studies, such as crossbreeding, but it can also be a challenging task, particularly when no sexual dimorphism is visible or cannot be directly observed. In metazoan parasites of the genus Schistosoma responsible for schistosomia-sis, sex is genetically determined in the zygote with a female heterogametic ZW/ZZ system. Adult flukes have a pronounced sexual dimorphism, whereas the sexes of the larval stages are morphologically indistinguishable but can be distinguished uniquely by using molecular methods. Therefore, reliable methods are needed to identify the sex of larvae individuals. Here, we present an endpoint PCR-based assay using female-specific sequences identified using a genome-wide comparative analysis between males and females. This work allowed us to identify sex-markers for Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma bovis but also the hybrid between both species that has recently emerged in Corsica (France). Five molecular sex-markers were identified and are female-specific in S. haematobium and the hybrid parasite, whereas three of them are also female-specific in S. bovis. These molecular markers will be useful to conduct studies, such as experimental crosses on these disease-causing blood flukes, which are still largely neglected but no longer restricted to tropical areas. Author Summary Current global changes (environmental and anthropogenic) are expected to promote the spread and transmission of infectious diseases. One of the direct consequences of such changes is the modification of the geographical distribution of species, enabling natural hybridization. Such hybridization is already known to occur in schistosomes, and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases |
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Julien Kincaid-Smith, Jérôme Boissier, Jean-François Allienne, Ana Oleaga, Félicité Djuikwo-Teukeng, et al.. A Genome Wide Comparison to Identify Markers to Differentiate the Sex of Larval Stages of Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma bovis and their Respective Hybrids. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2016, 10 (11), pp.e0005138. ⟨http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0005138⟩. ⟨10.1371/journal.pntd.0005138⟩. ⟨hal-01405665⟩

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