Parasitology

Research Article

Population dynamics of the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica: the effect of time and spatial separation on the genetic diversity of fluke populations in the Netherlands

S. M. WALKERa1, C. JOHNSTONa1, E. M. HOEYa1, I. FAIRWEATHERa1, F. BORGSTEEDEa2, C. GAASENBEEKa2, P. A. PRODÖHLa1 and A. TRUDGETTa1 c1

a1 School of Biological Sciences, The Queen's University of Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast N. Ireland

a2 Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen UR, Edelhertweg 15, 8219 PH Lelystad, The Netherlands

SUMMARY

An evaluation of the genetic diversity within Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke) may provide an insight into its potential to respond to environmental changes, such as anthelmintic use or climate change. In this study, we determined the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of >400 flukes from 29 individual cattle, from 2 farms in the Netherlands, as an exemplar of fasciolosis in a European context. Analysis of this dataset has provided us with a measure of the genetic variation within infrapopulations (individual hosts) and the diversity between infrapopulations within a herd of cattle. Temporal sampling from one farm allowed for the measurement of the stability of genetic variation at a single location, whilst the comparison between the two farms provided information on the variation in relation to distance and previous anthelmintic regimes. We showed that the liver fluke population in this region is predominantly linked to 2 distinct clades. Individual infrapopulations contain a leptokurtic distribution of genetically diverse flukes. The haplotypes present on a farm have been shown to change significantly over a relatively short time-period.

(Received February 11 2010)

(Revised April 16 2010)

(Revised June 23 2010)

(Revised June 29 2010)

(Accepted July 02 2010)

(Online publication August 27 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: School of Biological Sciences, The Queen's University of Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast N. Ireland. Tel: +44 028 9097 2125. Fax: +44 028 9097 5877. E-mail: a.trudgett@qub.ac.uk

Metrics