Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 85–98 | Cite as

Phylogeography analysis and molecular evolution patterns of the nematode parasite Heligmosomum mixtum based on mitochondrial DNA sequences

  • Hela Sakka
  • Heikki Henttonen
  • Ghada Baraket
  • Salhi-Hannachi AmelEmail author
  • Johan Michaux


Mitochondrial DNA was explored to study phylogeography of the nematode parasite Heligmosomum mixtum and elucidate molecular evolution pattern of cytochrome b gene. The size of cyt b gene ranged from 511 bp to 591 bp and the average of GC contents was 28.9%. The overall transition/transversion ratio R was 5.773 indicating that the transitions are more frequent than transversion. The aligned sequences allowed identifying 54 mtDNA haplotypes among the 119 examined individuals. The genetic divergence registered among the populations of H. mixtum was low (0.3% to 1.5%). Neighbor-joining and maximum Likelihood trees evidenced a huge polytomy and unstructured phylogeographic pattern among the studied populations. The demographic analyses tend to evidence a recent and rapid expansion of H. mixtum. Our results imply a positive selection and the genetic hitchhiking effect is unlikely. Parameters performed supported scenario of sweep selection and recent expansion of H.mixtum populations. Both positive selection and demographic histories have jointly contributed to the observed patterns of nucleotide diversity and haplotypes structure. The comparison of the phylogeographical pattern of H. mixtum with the one of its most common rodent host M. glareolus, confirmed a strong incongruence between the two species. These results strongly suggest that the parasite would not be specific to M. glareolus and that it would switch easily from one rodent species to another. The mitochondrial diversity seems to be unstructured with any biogeographic repartition of the variability and that the genetic structure of H. mixtum is probably associated with weak host specificity.


Mitochondrial DNA Cytochrome b gene Phylogeography Myodes glareolus Nematode parasite Heligmosomum mixtum 


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Copyright information

© W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hela Sakka
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Heikki Henttonen
    • 5
  • Ghada Baraket
    • 1
  • Salhi-Hannachi Amel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johan Michaux
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Immunologie et Biotechnologie. Département de Biologie, faculté des Sciences de TunisUnversité Tunis El Manar 2092 El ManarTunisTunisia
  2. 2.Faculté des Sciences de BizerteZarzounaTunisia
  3. 3.INRA, UMR CBGP 1062Campus international de Baillarguet, CS 30016Montferrier-sur-Lez cedexFrance
  4. 4.Conservation Genetics UnitUniversity of Liege, Institute of Botany (Bat. 22)LiègeBelgium
  5. 5.The Finnish Forest Research Institute Vantaa Research UnitVantaa UnitFinland

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