Now showing items 1-20 of 1025

    • Kleurenkennis

      van Grouw, Hein (Roots Vogelmagazine, 2021-04-01)
    • A revision of Discodon tricolor (Guérin-Méneville) and its mimics from the Atlantic forests of Brazil (Coleoptera: Cantharidae)

      Biffi, Gabriel; Geiser, Michael (Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle, 2022-08-23)
      Discodon tricolor (Guérin-Méneville, 1832) was thought to be a common species widely distributed in the Atlantic Forests of Brazil, yet showing morphological and chromatic variations. After examination of a large number of specimens from different regions of the Atlantic Forest biome, we found that Discodon tricolor actually represents a complex of many similar and sometimes sympatric species. Thirteen species in this complex are recognised as valid: Discodon tricolor, D. neoteutonum sp. nov., D. vanini sp. nov., D. obscurior Pic, 1906 stat. nov., D. lineaticorne sp. nov., D. aurimaculatum sp. nov., D. marginicolle sp. nov., D. tenuecostatum sp. nov., D. nigrocephalum Pic, 1949, D. tamoio sp. nov., D. viridimontanum sp. nov., D. crassipes Wittmer, 1952, and D. testaceipes Pic, 1930 stat. nov. The species Discodon albonotatum Pic, 1906 is confirmed as a synonym of D. tricolor, while the subspecies D. albonotatum obscurior and D. albonotatum testaceipes are elevated to specific status. The subgenus Acanthodiscodon Wittmer, 1952 is synonymised with Discodon Gorham, 1881. All the species are described and illustrated in detail and an identification key is provided. Despite being chromatically similar, the species show major morphological differences in their aedeagus and antennal structures, suggesting that they do not form a monophyletic clade. A potential mimicry ring involving these species of Discodon as well as other members of Cantharidae, Lampyridae, Cerambycidae and Belidae is discussed. Comments are made on the conservation of these species and their habitats within the Atlantic Forest biome.
    • First British record of Nacerdes carniolica (Gistel, 1834) (Oedemeridae) in Kent

      Geiser, Michael; Broad, G (The Coleopterist, 2022-09-13)
    • Who are you, Griselda? A replacement name for a new genus of the Asiatic short-tailed shrews (Mammalia, Eulipotyphla, Soricidae): molecular and morphological analyses with the discussion of tribal affinities

      Bannikova, Anna A; Jenkins, Paulina; Solovyeva, Evgeniya N; Pavlova, Svetlana V; Demidova, Tatiana B; Simanovsky, Sergey A; Sheftel, Boris I; Lebedev, Vladimir S; Fang, Yun; Dalen, Love; et al. (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-11-11)
      The first genetic study of the holotype of the Gansu short-tailed shrew, Blarinella griselda Thomas, 1912, is presented. The mitochondrial analysis demonstrated that the type specimen of B. griselda is close to several recently collected specimens from southern Gansu, northern Sichuan and Shaanxi, which are highly distinct from the two species of Asiatic short-tailed shrews of southern Sichuan, Yunnan, and Vietnam, >B. quadraticauda and B. wardi. Our analysis of four nuclear genes supported the placement of B. griselda as sister to B. quadraticauda / B. wardi, with the level of divergence between these two clades corresponding to that among genera of Soricinae. A new generic name, Parablarinella, is proposed for the Gansu short-tailed shrew. Karyotypes of Parablarinella griselda(2n = 49, NFa = 50) and B. quadraticauda (2n = 49, NFa = 62) from southern Gansu are described. The tribal affinities of Blarinellini and Blarinini are discussed.
    • Bones and genes: resolution problems in three Vietnamese species of Crocidura (Mammalia, Soricomorpha, Soricidae) and the description of an additional new species

      Jenkins, Paulina; Abramov, Alexei; Bannikova, Аnna; Rozhnov, Viatcheslav (Pensoft Publishers, 2013-07-02)
      Recent investigations of Southeast Asian white toothed shrews belonging to the genus Crocidura have revealed discrepancies between the results of morphological and molecular studies. The following study concerns three species of Crocidura occurring in Vietnam, namely Crocidura attenuata, Crocidura tanakae and Crocidura wuchihensis, and an undescribed fourth species revealed by molecular analysis. For many years Crocidura attenuata has been known to occur in Vietnam but, until very recently, the morphologically similar and comparably sized Crocidura tanakae was believed to be restricted to Taiwan. Following several molecular studies over the last few years, this species is now believed to be considerably more widespread and recognised as occuring also in Vietnam. The results of one of these recent molecular studies also revealed the presence of an undescribed species of Crocidura, similar in size and morphology to Crocidura wuchihensis, which is herein described. Data are provided on geographical variation in Vietnam and the problems of defining morphologically similar yet molecularly disparate species are discussed.
    • Sulfur-enhanced reductive bioprocessing of cobalt-bearing materials for base metals recovery

      Santos, Ana Laura; Dybowska, Agnieszka; Schofield, Paul; Herrington, Richard J; Johnson, D Barrie (Elsevier BV, 2020-06-16)
      The abundance of limonitic laterite ores in tropical and sub-tropical areas represents a large, and mostly unexploited, cobalt resource. Bioprocessing oxidised ores, and also waste materials such as tailings and processing residues, using acidophilic microorganisms to catalyse the reductive dissolution of iron and manganese minerals, is an environmentally benign alternative approach of extracting valuable base metals associated with these deposits. This work describes results from laboratory-scale experiments in which five cobalt-bearing materials, three primary limonitic laterite ores and two processing residues (filter dust and slag), all sourced from mines and a processing plant in Greece, were bioleached under reducing conditions by a consortium of acidophilic bacteria (using elemental sulfur as electron donor) in stirred tank bioreactors at pH 1.5 and 35 °C. Whilst the target metal, cobalt, was successfully bioleached from all five materials (40–50% within 30 days) the extraction of some other metals was more variable (e.g. between 2 and 48% of iron). Concentrations of soluble cobalt were highly correlated, in most cases, with those of manganese, in agreement with the finding that cobalt was primarily deported in manganese (IV) minerals. Acid consumption also differed greatly between mineral samples, ranging between 3 and 67 moles H2SO4 g−1 cobalt extracted. Comprehensive mineralogical analysis of the three limonitic samples before and after bioprocessing revealed significant variations between the ores, and demonstrated that elemental and mineralogical variabilities can greatly impact their amenability for reductive bioleaching.
    • The first edrioasteroid echinoderm from the lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of Yunnan Province, China

      Zhao, Jun; Rahman, Imran; Zamora, Samuel; Chen, Ailin; Cong, Peiyun (Wiley, 2022-07-07)
      Until now, the earliest fossil echinoderms have been predominantly known from the early Cambrian of Laurentia and West Gondwana. Here, we describe Sprinkleoglobus extenuatusgen. et sp. nov. from the Chengjiang biota (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3) of Yunnan Province, China. The over-all profile of the theca and the morphology of the ambulacra clearly establish it as an edrioasteroid echinoderm. This represents the first discovery of an unequivocal echinoderm from the early part of the Cambrian of South China and is among the oldest records of echinoderms globally. Our material shows that edrioasteroids were diverse and widely distributed from their first occurrence in the fossil record, suggesting an earlier origin for the group. We infer that Sprinkleoglobus and other early echinoderms were adapted for attaching to hard substrates, implying that the so-called Cambrian substrate revolution was not a strong control on the early evolution of attachment in echinoderms.
    • Mitochondrial genomes of two wild silkmoths, Samia watsoni and Samiawangi (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae), and their phylogenetic implications

      Lu, Decai; Huang, Yixin; Naumann, Stefan; Kitching, I; Xu, Zhenbang; Sun, Yang; Wang, Xu (European Journal of Entomology, 2022-08-24)
      The wild silkmoth genus Samia Hübner, 1819 (Saturniidae) contains a number of economically important species in industrial silk production. However, the interspecific relationships within the genus remain unclear. We sequence the mitogenomes of Samia watsoni Oberthür, 1914 and Samia wangi Naumann & Peigler, 2001. Both mitogenomes are annotated and found to be cyclized, with 37 genes (13 PCGs, 2 rRNA genes and 22 tRNA genes). Using maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods, we analyze these mitogenomes together with a further 68 downloaded from GenBank (65 Bombycoidea and 5 Lasiocampidae as the outgroup) to investigate the phylogenetic relationships both within the genus and those among the three families of the ‘SBS’ group: Bombycidae, Saturniidae and Sphingidae. The results show that within Samia, S. ricini is closely related to S. canningi, and not S. cynthia of which it has previously been considered to be a subspecies. Although arguments have been proposed to treat S. ricini and S. canningi as conspecific, we choose to accept the morphological arguments and continue to treat them as two separate species. Samia watsoni is corroborated as the sister group of all other Samia species, but nevertheless should be included within Samia rather than being placed in its own monobasic genus. Our analysis recovers the following relationship among the three families of the ‘SBS’ group: (Saturniidae + (Bombycidae + Sphingidae)). This agrees with previous studies based on analysis of mitogenomes but continues to contradict the results derived from phylogenomic analysis of nuclear genomes.
    • Bioleaching of arsenic-rich cobalt mineral resources, and evidence for concurrent biomineralisation of scorodite during oxidative bio-processing of skutterudite

      Johnson, D Barrie; Dybowska, Agnieszka; Schofield, Paul; Herrington, Richard J; Smith, Sarah L; Santos, Ana Laura (Elsevier BV, 2020-06-19)
      Experiments were carried out to test the amenabilities of mineral deposits that contained cobalt deported in arseno-sulfide (cobaltite) and arsenide (skutterudite) minerals, to oxidative bioleaching at mesophilic temperatures and low pH. An ore sample from the Iron Mask deposit (Canada) and a mineral concentrate from a working mine (Bou Azzer, Morocco) were thoroughly characterised, both prior to and following bio-processing. A “top down” approach, using microbial consortia including (initially) 13 species of mineral-degrading acidophiles was used to bioleach the ore and concentrate in shake flasks and bioreactors. Cobalt was successfully liberated from both materials tested (up to 93% from the ore, and 49% from the concentrate), though the chemistries of the leach liquors were very different, with redox potentials being >200 mV lower, and concentrations of soluble arsenic about 7-fold greater, with the concentrate. Addition of pyrite to the arsenide concentrate was found to promote the biomineralisation of scorodite (ferric arsenate), which was detected by both XRD and SEM-EDX, but was not found in bioleached residues of the arseno-sulfide ore. A model was proposed wherein pyrite had three critical roles in facilitating the genesis of scorodite: (i) providing the catalytic surface to promote the oxidation of As (III) to As (V); (ii) acting as a putative “seed” for scorodite crystallisation; (iii) being a secondary source of iron, since the molar ratios of iron:arsenic in the concentrate itself (0.19:1) was well below that required for effective removal of soluble arsenic as scorodite (1:1). This work provided proof of concept that cobalt arseno-sulfide and arsenide ores and concentrates are amenable to bio-processing, and also that it is possible to induce concurrent solubilisation of arsenic from primary minerals and immobilisation in a secondary mineral, scorodite.
    • The SITE-100 Project: Site-Based Biodiversity Genomics for Species Discovery, Community Ecology, and a Global Tree-of-Life

      Bian, Xueni; garner, beulah; Liu, Huaxi; Vogler, Alfried P (Frontiers Media SA, 2022-04-19)
      Most insect communities are composed of evolutionarily diverse lineages, but detailed phylogenetic analyses of whole communities are lacking, in particular in species-rich tropical faunas. Likewise, our knowledge of the Tree-of-Life to document evolutionary diversity of organisms remains highly incomplete and especially requires the inclusion of unstudied lineages from species-rich ecosystems. Here we present the SITE-100 program, which is an attempt at building the Tree-of-Life from whole-community sampling of high-biodiversity sites around the globe. Combining the local site-based sets into a global tree produces an increasingly comprehensive estimate of organismal phylogeny, while also re-tracing evolutionary history of lineages constituting the local community. Local sets are collected in bulk in standardized passive traps and imaged with large-scale high-resolution cameras, which is followed by a parataxonomy step for the preliminary separation of morphospecies and selection of specimens for phylogenetic analysis. Selected specimens are used for individual DNA extraction and sequencing, usually to sequence mitochondrial genomes. All remaining specimens are bulk extracted and subjected to metabarcoding. Phylogenetic analysis on the mitogenomes produces a reference tree to which short barcode sequences are added in a secondary analysis using phylogenetic placement methods or backbone constrained tree searches. However, the approach may be hampered because (1) mitogenomes are limited in phylogenetic informativeness, and (2) site-based sampling may produce poor taxon coverage which causes challenges for phylogenetic inference. To mitigate these problems, we first assemble nuclear shotgun data from taxonomically chosen lineages to resolve the base of the tree, and add site-based mitogenome and DNA barcode data in three hierarchical steps. We posit that site-based sampling, though not meeting the criterion of “taxon-completeness,” has great merits given preliminary studies showing representativeness and evenness of taxa sampled. We therefore argue in favor of site-based sampling as an unorthodox but logistically efficient way to construct large phylogenetic trees.
    • Revision of the World Species of Megaphragma Timberlake (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

      Polaszek, Andrew; Fusu, Lucian; Viggiani, Gennaro; Hall, Andie; Hanson, Paul; Polilov, Alexey A (MDPI AG, 2022-06-20)
      Megaphragma species are important models for basic organismal research, and many are potential biological control agents. We present the first extensive revision of species of the genus Megaphragma based on morphological and molecular data. Our revision includes all previously described species, 6 of which are synonymized, and 22 of which are described here as new. We also provide the first key to all species of the genus and reconstruct their phylogeny based on 28S and CO1 molecular markers. The following species are synonymized with M. longiciliatum Subba Rao: M. aligarhensis Yousuf and Shafee syn. nov.; M. amalphitanum Viggiani syn. nov.; M. decochaetum Lin syn. nov.; M. magniclava Yousuf and Shafee syn. nov.; M. shimalianum Hayat syn. nov. M. anomalifuniculi Yuan and Lou syn. nov. is synonymized with M. polychaetum Lin. The following species are described as new: M. antecessor Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. breviclavum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. chienleei Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. cockerilli Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. digitatum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. fanenitrakely Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. funiculatum Fusu, Polaszek, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. giraulti Viggiani, Fusu, and Polaszek sp. nov.; M. hansoni Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. kinuthiae Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. liui Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. momookherjeeae Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. nowickii Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. noyesi Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. pintoi Viggiani sp. nov.; M. polilovi Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. rivelloi Viggiani sp. nov.; M. tamoi Polaszek, Fusu, and Viggiani sp. nov.; M. tridens Fusu, and Polaszek sp. nov.; M. uniclavum Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. vanlentereni Polaszek and Fusu sp. nov.; M. viggianii Fusu, Polaszek, and Polilov sp. nov.
    • Far from a distraction: Plastic pollution and the planetary emergency

      Lavers, Jennifer L; Bond, AL; Rolsky, Charles (Elsevier BV, 2022-07-04)
      Pollution of the environment with plastics has garnered significant public attention, but the topic has also been the focus of controversy, including assertions that resources are better spent on other topics, such as global warming. Here, we argue that plastic pollution and climate change are fundamentally linked, from the extraction of fossil fuels to the production of plastics, and eventual disposal. We demonstrate how plastics research and funding currently lag significantly behind that of climate change and conclude by advocating for a more integrated approach to addressing pressing conservation issues in the time of a planetary emergency.
    • Cryptic population decrease due to invasive species predation in a long‐lived seabird supports need for eradication

      Oppel, Steffen; Clark, Bethany L; Risi, Michelle M; Horswill, Catharine; Converse, Sarah J; Jones, Christopher W; Osborne, Alexis M; Stevens, Kim; Perold, Vonica; Bond, AL; et al. (Wiley, 2022-06-18)
      SUMMARY 1. Invasive species are one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide, but the eradication of invasive species from islands is a highly efficient management strategy. Because eradication operations require large financial investments, uncertainty over the magnitude of impacts of both invasive species and their removal can impede the willingness of decision makers to invest in eradication. Such uncertainty is prevalent for long-lived species that display an inherent lag between life stages affected by invasive species and those used for population status assessments. 2. Albatrosses are among the longest-living bird species and are threatened on land by invasive species and at sea by industrial fisheries. As in many seabird species, usually only a segment of the population (breeding adults) is used for status assessments, making it difficult to assess their population trends and the potential benefit of conservation action, such as the management of predatory invasive species. 3. We used population monitoring and mark-recapture data to estimate the past population trajectory of the Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbenena) by accounting for unobservable birds at sea in an integrated population model. We then projected the future population trajectory for scenarios with or without predation by invasive house mice (Mus musculus) on their main site, Gough Island. 4. The adult breeding population remained stable between 2004 and 2021, but breeding success was low (31%) and our model indicated that the total population (including unobservable immature birds) decreased from a median estimate of 9795 to 7752 birds. Eradicating invasive mice leading to a two-fold increase in breeding success would result in a 1.8–7.6 times higher albatross population by 2050 (median estimate 10 352 individuals) than without this intervention. 5. Low reproductive output for long-lived species may lead to a cryptic population decrease, which can be obscured from readily available counts of breeding pairs by changes in the breeding population. Mouse eradication is necessary to revert the ongoing population decrease, even if this decrease is not yet apparent in the breeding population size.
    • The influence of seabirds on their breeding, roosting and nesting grounds: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

      Grant, Megan L; Bond, AL; Lavers, Jennifer L (Wiley, 2022-06)
      Seabird species world-wide are integral to both marine and terrestrial environments, connecting the two systems by transporting vast quantities of marine-derived nutrients and pollutants to terrestrial breeding, roosting and nesting grounds via the deposition of guano and other allochthonous inputs (e.g. eggs, feathers). We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis and provide insight into what types of nutrients and pollutants seabirds are transporting, the influence these subsidies are having on recipient environments, with a particular focus on soil, and what may happen if seabird populations decline. The addition of guano to colony soils increased nutrient levels compared to control soils for all seabirds studied, with cascading positive effects observed across a range of habitats. Deposited guano sometimes led to negative impacts, such as guanotrophication, or guano-induced eutrophication, which was often observed where there was an excess of guano or in areas with high seabird densities. While the literature describing nutrients transported by seabirds is extensive, literature regarding pollutant transfer is comparatively limited, with a focus on toxic and bioaccumulative metals. Research on persistent organic pollutants and plastics transported by seabirds is likely to increase in coming years. Studies were limited geographically, with hotspots of research activity in a few locations, but data were lacking from large regions around the world. Studies were also limited to seabird species listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. As seabird populations are impacted by multiple threats and steep declines have been observed for many species world-wide, gaps in the literature are particularly concerning. The loss of seabirds will impact nutrient cycling at localized levels and potentially on a global scale as well, yet it is unknown what may truly happen to areas that rely on seabirds if these populations disappear.
    • Analytical and Clinical Assessment of a Portable, Isothermal Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) Assay for the Molecular Diagnosis of Urogenital Schistosomiasis

      Archer, John; Barksby, Rebecca; Pennance, T; Rostron, Penelope; Bakar, Faki; Knopp, Stefanie; Allan, F; Kabole, Fatma; Ali, Said M; Ame, Shaali M; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-09-11)
      Accurate diagnosis of urogenital schistosomiasis is crucial for disease surveillance and control. Routine diagnostic methods, however, lack sensitivity when assessing patients with low levels of infection still able to maintain pathogen transmission. Therefore, there is a need for highly sensitive diagnostic tools that can be used at the point-of-care in endemic areas. Recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) is a rapid and sensitive diagnostic tool that has been used to diagnose several pathogens at the point-of-care. Here, the analytical performance of a previously developed RPA assay (RT-ShDra1-RPA) targeting the Schistosoma haematobium Dra1 genomic region was assessed using commercially synthesised S. haematobium Dra1 copies and laboratory-prepared samples spiked with S. haematobium eggs. Clinical performance was also assessed by comparing diagnostic outcomes with that of a reference diagnostic standard, urine-egg microscopy. The RT-ShDra1-RPA was able to detect 1 × 101 copies of commercially synthesised Dra1 DNA as well as one S. haematobium egg within laboratory-spiked ddH2O samples. When compared with urine-egg microscopy, the overall sensitivity and specificity of the RT-ShDra1-RPA assay was 93.7% (±88.7–96.9) and 100% (±69.1–100), respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were 100% (±97.5–100) and 50% (±27.2–72.8), respectively. The RT-ShDra1-RPA therefore shows promise as a rapid and highly sensitive diagnostic tool able to diagnose urogenital schistosomiasis at the point-of-care.
    • Erratum to: Development of novel multiplex microsatellite polymerase chain reactions to enable high-throughput population genetic studies of Schistosoma haematobium

      Webster, BL; Rabone, M; Pennance, T; Emery, AM; Allan, F; Gouvras, A; Knopp, S; Garba, A; Hamidou, AA; Mohammed, KA; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2015-10-09)
      Unfortunately, the original version of this article [1], contained a mistake. In Table 1, the primers for Sh6 and Sh9 were included incorrectly. Instead of GGGATGTATGCAGACTTG TTGTTTGGCTGCAGTAAC and GCTGAGCTTGAGATTG CTTCTGTCCCATCGATACC they should have been Sh6 Forward Primer GGTGGATTACGCAATAG, Sh6 Reverse Primer TTTAATCAACCGGGTGTC and Sh9 Forward Primer GGGATGTATGCAGACTTG, Sh9 Reverse Primer TTGTTTGGCTGCAGTAAC respectively. A corrected version of Table 1 is included below
    • Longitudinal survey on the distribution of Biomphalaria sudanica and B. choanomophala in Mwanza region, on the shores of Lake Victoria, Tanzania: implications for schistosomiasis transmission and control

      Gouvras, A; Allan, Fiona; Kinung’hi, Safari; Rabone, M; Emery, AM; Angelo, Teckla; Pennance, T; Webster, BL; Nagai, Honest; Rollinson, D (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2017-06-28)
      Background: Schistosomiasis is hyper-endemic in the Lake Victoria basin; with intestinal schistosomiasis plaguing communities adjacent to the lake, where the intermediate host snails live. The two intermediate host species of Schistosoma mansoni in the Mwanza region are Biomphalaria sudanica, found on the banks of the lakes, and B. choanomphala, found in the lake itself. There are few longitudinal surveys documenting changing abundance and differential transmission patterns of these Biomphalaria snails across seasons and years. We undertook 15 field surveys at 26 sites over four years to determine the parameters that influence Biomphalaria abundance, presence of S. mansoni-shedding snails and impact of schistosomiasis treatment interventions on transmission potential in the Mwanza region. Results: Statistical analysis revealed seasonal difference in the abundance of B. sudanica with the highest number of snails found in the dry season (Kruskal-Wallis χ <sup>2</sup> = 37.231, df = 3, P < 0.0001). Water measurements were not associated with B. sudanica abundance; however, high levels of rainfall did have a negative effect on B. sudanica [coefficient effect -0.1405, 95% CI (-0.2666, -0.0144)] and B. choanomphala abundance [coefficient effect -0.4388, 95% CI (-0.8546, -0.0231)] potentially due to inundation of sites "diluting" the snails and influencing collection outcome. Biomphalaria sudanica snails were found at all sites whereas B. choanomphala were far more focal and only found in certain sites. Shedding Biomphalaria did not show any variation between dry and rainy seasons; however, a decrease in shedding snails was observed in year 4 of the study. Conclusions: Biomphalaria sudanica is uniformly present in the Mwanza region whereas B. choanomphala is far more focal. Seasonality plays a role for B. sudanica abundance, likely due to its habitat preference on the banks of the lake, but not for B. choanomphala. The decrease in shedding Biomphalaria abundance in Year 4 could be linked to ongoing schistosomiasis treatment efforts in the neighbouring human populations. The highest number of shedding Biomphalaria was observed at sites with high levels of human movement. Prioritising snail control at such sites could greatly reduce transmission in these high-risk areas.
    • Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World Schistosoma mansoni and predate drug deployment

      Chevalier, Frédéric D; Le Clec’h, Winka; McDew-White, Marina; Menon, Vinay; Guzman, Meghan A; Holloway, Stephen P; Cao, Xiaohang; Taylor, Alexander B; Kinung'hi, Safari; Gouvras, Anouk N; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-10-25)
      Do mutations required for adaptation occur de novo, or are they segregating within populations as standing genetic variation? This question is key to understanding adaptive change in nature, and has important practical consequences for the evolution of drug resistance. We provide evidence that alleles conferring resistance to oxamniquine (OXA), an antischistosomal drug, are widespread in natural parasite populations under minimal drug pressure and predate OXA deployment. OXA has been used since the 1970s to treat Schistosoma mansoni infections in the New World where S. mansoni established during the slave trade. Recessive loss-of-function mutations within a parasite sulfotransferase (SmSULT-OR) underlie resistance, and several verified resistance mutations, including a deletion (p.E142del), have been identified in the New World. Here we investigate sequence variation in SmSULT-OR in S. mansoni from the Old World, where OXA has seen minimal usage. We sequenced exomes of 204 S. mansoni parasites from West Africa, East Africa and the Middle East, and scored variants in SmSULT-OR and flanking regions. We identified 39 non-synonymous SNPs, 4 deletions, 1 duplication and 1 premature stop codon in the SmSULT-OR coding sequence, including one confirmed resistance deletion (p.E142del). We expressed recombinant proteins and used an in vitro OXA activation assay to functionally validate the OXA-resistance phenotype for four predicted OXA-resistance mutations. Three aspects of the data are of particular interest: (i) segregating OXA-resistance alleles are widespread in Old World populations (4.29-14.91% frequency), despite minimal OXA usage, (ii) two OXA-resistance mutations (p.W120R, p.N171IfsX28) are particularly common (>5%) in East African and Middle-Eastern populations, (iii) the p.E142del allele has identical flanking SNPs in both West Africa and Puerto Rico, suggesting that parasites bearing this allele colonized the New World during the slave trade and therefore predate OXA deployment. We conclude that standing variation for OXA resistance is widespread in S. mansoni.
    • The detection of Schistosoma bovis in livestock on Pemba Island, Zanzibar: A preliminary study

      Pennance, T; Ame, Shaali M; Amour, Amour Khamis; Suleiman, Khamis Rashid; Cable, Jo; Webster, BL (Elsevier BV, 2021-10-15)
      Schistosoma bovis is a parasitic trematode of ungulates transmitted by freshwater snails in Sub-Saharan Africa causing bovine intestinal schistosomiasis that leads to chronic morbidity and significant agricultural economic losses. The recently reported occurrence of Bulinus globosus infected with S. bovis for the first time on Pemba Island (Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania) is a cause of concern for livestock/wildlife health and complicates the surveillance of Schistosoma haematobium. To confirm that local cattle are infected with S. bovis, fresh faecal samples were collected from six adult cows surrounding two schistosomiasis transmission sites in Kinyasini, Pemba Island. Schistosome eggs were concentrated, egg hatching stimulated and miracidia were individually captured and identified by analysis of the partial mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and the partial nuclear internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1+5.8S+ITS2). Two S. bovis miracidia were collected from one faecal sample with two cox1 haplotypes, one matching cox1 data obtained from S. bovis cercariae, collected previously at the same site in Pemba, the other matching S. bovis cox1 data originating from coastal Tanzania. The findings conclude that S. bovis transmission has been established on Pemba Island and is likely to have been imported through livestock trade with East Africa. Increasing the sensitivity of non-invasive diagnostics for bovine schistosomiasis, together with wider sampling, will enable a better assessment on the epidemiology of S. bovis on Pemba Island.
    • Diverging patterns of introgression from Schistosoma bovis across S. haematobium African lineages

      Rey, Olivier; Toulza, Eve; Chaparro, Cristian; Allienne, Jean-François; Kincaid-Smith, Julien; Mathieu-Begné, Eglantine; Allan, F; Rollinson, D; Webster, BL; Boissier, Jérôme (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021-02-05)
      Hybridization is a fascinating evolutionary phenomenon that raises the question of how species maintain their integrity. Inter-species hybridization occurs between certain Schistosoma species that can cause important public health and veterinary issues. In particular hybrids between Schistosoma haematobium and S. bovis associated with humans and animals respectively are frequently identified in Africa. Recent genomic evidence indicates that some S. haematobium populations show signatures of genomic introgression from S. bovis. Here, we conducted a genomic comparative study and investigated the genomic relationships between S. haematobium, S. bovis and their hybrids using 19 isolates originating from a wide geographical range over Africa, including samples initially classified as S. haematobium (n = 11), S. bovis (n = 6) and S. haematobium x S. bovis hybrids (n = 2). Based on a whole genomic sequencing approach, we developed 56,181 SNPs that allowed a clear differentiation of S. bovis isolates from a genomic cluster including all S. haematobium isolates and a natural S. haematobium-bovis hybrid. All the isolates from the S. haematobium cluster except the isolate from Madagascar harbored signatures of genomic introgression from S. bovis. Isolates from Corsica, Mali and Egypt harbored the S. bovis-like Invadolysin gene, an introgressed tract that has been previously detected in some introgressed S. haematobium populations from Niger. Together our results highlight the fact that introgression from S. bovis is widespread across S. haematobium and that the observed introgression is unidirectional.