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  • Netherlands, Edward C.; Cook, Courtney A.; Du Preez, Louis H.; Vanhove, Maarten P.M.; Brendonck, Luc; Smit, Nico J. (2020)
    Haemogregarine (Apicomplexa: Adeleorina) blood parasites are commonly reported from anuran hosts. Dactylosomatidae (Jakowska and Nigrelli, 1955) is a group of haemogregarines comprising Dactylosoma Labbe, 1894 and Babesiosoma Jakowska and Nigrelli, 1956. Currently Dactylosoma and Babesiosoma contain five recognised species each. In the current study, a total of 643 anurans, comprising 38 species, 20 genera, and 13 families were collected from South Africa (n = 618) and Belgium (n = 25), and their blood screened for the presence of dactylosomatid parasites. Three anuran species were found infected namely, Ptychadena anchietae (Bocage, 1868) and Sclerophrys gutturalis (Power, 1927) from South Africa, and Pelophylax lessonae (Camerano, 1882) from Belgium. Based on morphological characteristics, morphometrics and molecular results a new dactylosomatid, Dactylosoma kermiti n. sp. is described form Pty. anchietae and Scl. gutturalis. The species of Dactylosoma isolated from Pel. lessonae could not, based on morphological or molecular analysis, be identified to species level. Phylogenetic analysis shows species of Dactylosoma infecting anurans as a monophyletic group separate from the other haemogregarine groups. Additionally, the mosquitoes Uranotaenia (Pseudoficalbia) mashonaensis Theobald, 1901 and U. (Pfc.) montana Ingram and De Meillon, 1927 were observed feeding on Scl. gutturalis in situ and possible dividing stages of this new parasite were observed in the mosquitoes. This study is the first to describe a dactylosomatid parasite based on morphological and molecular data from Africa as well as observe potential stages in possible dipteran vectors.
  • Cui, Fuqiang; Ye, Xiaoxue; Li, Xiaoxiao; Yang, Yifan; Hu, Zhubing; Overmyer, Kirk; Brosche, Mikael; Yu, Hong; Salojärvi, Jarkko (2022)
    Vaccinium darrowii is a subtropical wild blueberry species that has been used to breed economically important southern highbush cultivars. The adaptive traits of V. darrowii to subtropical climates can provide valuable information for breeding blueberry and perhaps other plants, especially against the background of global warming. Here, we assembled the V. darrowii genome into 12 pseudochromosomes using Oxford Nanopore long reads complemented with Hi-C scaffolding technologies, and we predicted 41 815 genes using RNA-sequencing evidence. Syntenic analysis across three Vaccinium species revealed a highly conserved genome structure, with the highest collinearity between V. darrowii and Vaccinium corymbosum. This conserved genome structure may explain the high fertility observed during crossbreeding of V. darrowii with other blueberry cultivars. Analysis of gene expansion and tandem duplication indicated possible roles for defense- and flowering-associated genes in the adaptation of V. darrowii to the subtropics. Putative SOC1 genes in V. darrowii were identified based on phylogeny and expression analysis. Blueberries are covered in a thick cuticle layer and contain anthocyanins, which confer their powdery blue color. Using RNA sequencing, we delineated the cuticle biosynthesis pathways of Vaccinium species in V. darrowii. This result can serve as a reference for breeding berries whose colors are appealing to customers. The V. darrowii reference genome, together with the unique traits of this species, including its diploid genome, short vegetative phase, and high compatibility in hybridization with other blueberries, make V. darrowii a potential research model for blueberry species.
  • Rehman, Umar; Sultana, Nighat; Abdullah; Jamal, Abbas; Muzaffar, Maryam; Poczai, Péter (2021)
    Family Phyllanthaceae belongs to the eudicot order Malpighiales, and its species are herbs, shrubs, and trees that are mostly distributed in tropical regions. Here, we elucidate the molecular evolution of the chloroplast genome in Phyllanthaceae and identify the polymorphic loci for phylogenetic inference. We de novo assembled the chloroplast genomes of three Phyllanthaceae species, i.e., Phyllanthus emblica, Flueggea virosa, and Leptopus cordifolius, and compared them with six other previously reported genomes. All species comprised two inverted repeat regions (size range 23,921–27,128 bp) that separated large single-copy (83,627–89,932 bp) and small single-copy (17,424–19,441 bp) regions. Chloroplast genomes contained 111–112 unique genes, including 77–78 protein-coding, 30 tRNAs, and 4 rRNAs. The deletion/pseudogenization of rps16 genes was found in only two species. High variability was seen in the number of oligonucleotide repeats, while guanine-cytosine contents, codon usage, amino acid frequency, simple sequence repeats, synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions, and transition and transversion substitutions were similar. The transition substitutions were higher in coding sequences than in non-coding sequences. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the polyphyletic nature of the genus Phyllanthus. The polymorphic proteincoding genes, including rpl22, ycf1, matK, ndhF, and rps15, were also determined, which may be helpful for reconstructing the high-resolution phylogenetic tree of the family Phyllanthaceae. Overall, the study provides insight into the chloroplast genome evolution in Phyllanthaceae.
  • Williamson, Charles H. D.; Sahl, Jason W.; Smith, Theresa J.; Xie, Gary; Foley, Brian T.; Smith, Leonard A.; Fernandez, Rafael A.; Lindström, Miia; Korkeala, Hannu; Keim, Paul; Foster, Jeffrey; Hill, Karen (2016)
    Background: Clostridium botulinum is a diverse group of bacteria characterized by the production of botulinum neurotoxin. Botulinum neurotoxins are classified into serotypes (BoNT/A-G), which are produced by six species/Groups of Clostridia, but the genetic background of the bacteria remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to use comparative genomics to provide insights into the genetic diversity and evolutionary history of bacteria that produce the potent botulinum neurotoxin. Results: Comparative genomic analyses of over 170 Clostridia genomes, including our draft genome assemblies for 59 newly sequenced Clostridia strains from six continents and publicly available genomic data, provided in-depth insights into the diversity and distribution of BoNT-producing bacteria. These newly sequenced strains included Group I and II strains that express BoNT/A,/B,/E, or/F as well as bivalent strains. BoNT-producing Clostridia and closely related Clostridia species were delineated with a variety of methods including 16S rRNA gene, concatenated marker genes, core genome and concatenated multi-locus sequencing typing (MLST) gene phylogenies that related whole genome sequenced strains to publicly available strains and sequence types. These analyses illustrated the phylogenetic diversity in each Group and the diversity of genomic backgrounds that express the same toxin type or subtype. Comparisons of the botulinum neurotoxin genes did not identify novel toxin types or variants. Conclusions: This study represents one of the most comprehensive analyses of whole genome sequence data for Group I and II BoNT-producing strains. Read data and draft genome assemblies generated for 59 isolates will be a resource to the research community. Core genome phylogenies proved to be a powerful tool for differentiating BoNT-producing strains and can provide a framework for the study of these bacteria. Comparative genomic analyses of Clostridia species illustrate the diversity of botulinum-neurotoxin-producing strains and the plasticity of the genomic backgrounds in which bont genes are found.
  • Mehmood, Furrukh; Abdullah; Ubaid, Zartasha; Bao, Yiming; Poczai, Péter; Mirza, Bushra (2020)
    Within the family Solanaceae, Withania is a small genus belonging to the Solanoideae subfamily. Here, we report the de novo assembled chloroplast genome sequences of W. coagulans, W. adpressa, and W. riebeckii. The length of these genomes ranged from 154,162 to 154,364 base pairs (bp). These genomes contained a pair of inverted repeats (IRa and IRb) ranging from 25,029 to 25,071 bp that were separated by a large single-copy (LSC) region of 85,635-85,765 bp and a small single-copy (SSC) region of 18,457-18,469 bp. We analyzed the structural organization, gene content and order, guanine-cytosine content, codon usage, RNA-editing sites, microsatellites, oligonucleotide and tandem repeats, and substitutions of Withania plastomes, which revealed high similarities among the species. Comparative analysis among the Withania species also highlighted 10 divergent hotspots that could potentially be used for molecular marker development, phylogenetic analysis, and species identification. Furthermore, our analyses showed that even three mutational hotspots (rps4-trnT, trnM-atpE, and rps15) were sufficient to discriminate the Withania species included in current study.
  • Poczai, Péter; Amiryousefi, Ali; Hyvönen, Jaakko (2017)
    In this study, we announce the complete chloroplast genome sequence of Nicotiana attenuata. The genome sequence of 155,941 bp consists of two inverted repeat (IRa and IRb) regions of 25,438 bp each, a large single-copy (LSC) region of 86,513 bp and a small single-copy (SSC) region of 18,524 bp. The overall GC content is 37.9% and the GC contents of LSC, IRs, and SSC are 36%, 43.2%, and 32.1%, respectively. The plastome with 129 annotated unique genes includes 84 protein-coding genes, 37 tRNA genes, and 8 rRNA genes. Using the whole chloroplast genome sequences alignment of 16 Solanaceae species a phylogenetic hypothesis is presented validating the position of N. attenuata within Nicotianeae.
  • Liimatainen, K.; Carteret, X.; Dima, B.; Kytovuori, I.; Bidaud, A.; Reumaux, P.; Niskanen, T.; Ammirati, J. F.; Bellanger, J-M. (2017)
    Cortinarius is the largest genus of ectomycorrhizal fungi worldwide. Recent molecular studies have shown high levels of morphological homoplasy within the genus. Importantly, DNA phylogenies can reveal characteristics that have been either over- or underemphasized in taxonomic studies. Here we sequenced and phylogenetically analysed a large set of pan-European and North American collections taxonomically studied and placed in Cortinarius sect. Bicolores and sect. Saturnini, according to traditional morpho-anatomical criteria. Our goal was to circumscribe the evolutionary boundaries of the two sections, to stabilize both the limits and nomenclature of relevant species, and to identify described taxa which, according to our current understanding, belong to other lineages. Our analysis resolves two clades: /Bicolores, including 12 species, one of which is new to science, and /Saturnini, including 6 species. Fifteen binomials, traditionally treated in these two sections based on morphology, do not belong to the above two phylogenetic clades. Instead, six of these latter are clearly placed in other clades that represent sect. Bovini, sect. Sciophylli, sect. Duracini and sect. Brunneotincti. The presence or absence of blue pigments and the detection of specific odours emerge as clearly misleading taxonomic features, but more surprisingly, spore size and ecology can be misleading as well. A total of 63 type specimens were sequenced, 4 neotypes and 2 epitypes are proposed here, and 1 new combination is made.
  • Pietikainen, Risto; Nordling, Stig; Jokiranta, Sakari; Saari, Seppo; Heikkinen, Petra; Gardiner, Chris; Kerttula, Anne-Marie; Kantanen, Tiina; Nikanorova, Anna; Laaksonen, Sauli; Lavikainen, Antti; Oksanen, Antti (2017)
    Background: The spread of vector-borne diseases to new regions has become a global threat due to climate change, increasing traffic, and movement of people and animals. Dirofilaria repens, the canine subcutaneous filarioid nematode, has expanded its distribution range northward during the last decades. The northernmost European locations, where the parasite life-cycle has been confirmed, are Estonia and the Novgorod Region in Russia. Results: Herein, we describe an autochthonous D. repens infection in a Finnish woman. We also present two cases of D. repens infection in imported dogs indicating the life-cycle in the Russian Vyborg and St Petersburg areas, close to the Finnish border. Conclusions: The most obvious limiting factor of the northern distribution of D. repens is the summer temperature, due to the temperature-dependent development of larvae in vectors. With continuing climate change, further spread of D. repens in Fennoscandia can be expected.
  • Lewis, Samuel H.; Salmela, Heli; Obbard, Darren J. (2016)
    Genetic studies of Drosophila melanogaster have provided a paradigm for RNA interference (RNAi) in arthropods, in which the microRNA and antiviral pathways are each mediated by a single Argonaute (Ago1 and Ago2) and germline suppression of transposable elements is mediated by a trio of Piwi-subfamily Argonaute proteins (Ago3, Aub, and Piwi). Without a suitable evolutionary context, deviations from this can be interpreted as derived or idiosyncratic. Here we analyze the evolution of Argonaute genes across the genomes and transcriptomes of 86 Dipteran species, showing that variation in copy number can occur rapidly, and that there is constant flux in some RNAi mechanisms. The lability of the RNAi pathways is illustrated by the divergence of Aub and Piwi (182-156Ma), independent origins of multiple Piwi-family genes in Aedes mosquitoes (less than 25Ma), and the recent duplications of Ago2 and Ago3 in the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans. In each case the tissue specificity of these genes has altered, suggesting functional divergence or innovation, and consistent with the action of dynamic selection pressures across the Argonaute gene family. We find there are large differences in evolutionary rates and gene turnover between pathways, and that paralogs of Ago2, Ago3, and Piwi/Aub show contrasting rates of evolution after duplication. This suggests that Argonautes undergo frequent evolutionary expansions that facilitate functional divergence.
  • Veltsos, Paris; Ridout, Kate E.; Toups, Melissa A.; Gonzalez-Martinez, Santiago C.; Muyle, Aline; Emery, Olivier; Rastas, Pasi; Hudzieczek, Vojtech; Hobza, Roman; Vyskot, Boris; Marais, Gabriel A. B.; Filatov, Dmitry A.; Pannell, John R. (2019)
    Suppressed recombination allows divergence between homologous sex chromosomes and the functionality of their genes. Here, we reveal patterns of the earliest stages of sex-chromosome evolution in the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua on the basis of cytological analysis, de novo genome assembly and annotation, genetic mapping, exome resequencing of natural populations, and transcriptome analysis. The genome assembly contained 34,105 expressed genes, of which 10,076 were assigned to linkage groups. Genetic mapping and exome resequencing of individuals across the species range both identified the largest linkage group, LG1, as the sex chromosome. Although the sex chromosomes of M. annua are karyotypically homomorphic, we estimate that about one-third of the Y chromosome, containing 568 transcripts and spanning 22.3 cM in the corresponding female map, has ceased recombining. Nevertheless, we found limited evidence for Y-chromosome degeneration in terms of gene loss and pseudogenization, and most X- and Y-linked genes appear to have diverged in the period subsequent to speciation between M. annua and its sister species M. huetii, which shares the same sex-determining region. Taken together, our results suggest that the M. annua Y chromosome has at least two evolutionary strata: a small old stratum shared with M. huetii, and a more recent larger stratum that is probably unique to M. annua and that stopped recombining similar to 1 MYA. Patterns of gene expression within the nonrecombining region are consistent with the idea that sexually antagonistic selection may have played a role in favoring suppressed recombination.
  • Meric, Guillaume; Miragaia, Maria; de Been, Mark; Yahara, Koji; Pascoe, Ben; Mageiros, Leonardos; Mikhail, Jane; Harris, Llinos G.; Wilkinson, Thomas S.; Rolo, Joana; Lamble, Sarah; Bray, James E.; Jolley, Keith A.; Hanage, William P.; Bowden, Rory; Maiden, Martin C. J.; Mack, Dietrich; de Lencastre, Herminia; Feil, Edward J.; Corander, Jukka; Sheppard, Samuel K. (2015)
    The opportunistic pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis represent major causes of severe nosocomial infection, and are associated with high levels of mortality and morbidity worldwide. These species are both common commensals on the human skin and in the nasal pharynx, but are genetically distinct, differing at 24% average nucleotide divergence in 1,478 core genes. To better understand the genome dynamics of these ecologically similar staphylococcal species, we carried out a comparative analysis of 324 S. aureus and S. epidermidis genomes, including 83 novel S. epidermidis sequences. A reference pan-genome approach and whole genome multilocus-sequence typing revealed that around half of the genome was shared between the species. Based on a BratNextGen analysis, homologous recombination was found to have impacted on 40% of the core genes in S. epidermidis, but on only 24% of the core genes in S. aureus. Homologous recombination between the species is rare, with a maximum of nine gene alleles shared between any two S. epidermidis and S. aureus isolates. In contrast, there was considerable interspecies admixture of mobile elements, in particular genes associated with the SaPIn1 pathogenicity island, metal detoxification, and the methicillin-resistance island SCCmec. Our data and analysis provide a context for considering the nature of recombinational boundaries between S. aureus and S. epidermidis and, the selective forces that influence realized recombination between these species.
  • Sun, Zhihong; Harris, Hugh M. B.; McCann, Angela; Guo, Chenyi; Argimon, Silvia; Zhang, Wenyi; Yang, Xianwei; Jeffery, Ian B.; Cooney, Jakki C.; Kagawa, Todd F.; Liu, Wenjun; Song, Yuqin; Salvetti, Elisa; Wrobel, Agnieszka; Rasinkangas, Pia; Parkhill, Julian; Rea, Mary C.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Ritari, Jarmo; Douillard, Francois P.; Ross, R. Paul; Yang, Ruifu; Briner, Alexandra E.; Felis, Giovanna E.; de Vos, Willem M.; Barrangou, Rodolphe; Klaenhammer, Todd R.; Caufield, Page W.; Cui, Yujun; Zhang, Heping; O'Toole, Paul W. (2015)
    Lactobacilli are a diverse group of species that occupy diverse nutrient-rich niches associated with humans, animals, plants and food. They are used widely in biotechnology and food preservation, and are being explored as therapeutics. Exploiting lactobacilli has been complicated by metabolic diversity, unclear species identity and uncertain relationships between them and other commercially important lactic acid bacteria. The capacity for biotransformations catalysed by lactobacilli is an untapped biotechnology resource. Here we report the genome sequences of 213 Lactobacillus strains and associated genera, and their encoded genetic catalogue for modifying carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, we describe broad and diverse presence of novel CRISPR-Cas immune systems in lactobacilli that may be exploited for genome editing. We rationalize the phylogenomic distribution of host interaction factors and bacteriocins that affect their natural and industrial environments, and mechanisms to withstand stress during technological processes. We present a robust phylogenomic framework of existing species and for classifying new species.
  • Cardueae Radiations Grp (2018)
    Target enrichment is a cost-effective sequencing technique that holds promise for elucidating evolutionary relationships in fast-evolving lineages. However, potential biases and impact of bioinformatic sequence treatments in phylogenetic inference have not been thoroughly explored yet. Here, we investigate this issue with an ultimate goal to shed light into a highly diversified group of Compositae (Asteraceae) constituted by four main genera: Arctium, Cousinia, Saussurea, and Jurinea. Specifically, we compared sequence data extraction methods implemented in two easy-to-use workflows, PHYLUCE and HybPiper, and assessed the impact of two filtering practices intended to reduce phylogenetic noise. In addition, we compared two phylogenetic inference methods: (1) the concatenation approach, in which all loci were concatenated in a supermatrix; and (2) the coalescence approach, in which gene trees were produced independently and then used to construct a species tree under coalescence assumptions. Here we confirm the usefulness of the set of 1061 COS targets (a nuclear conserved orthology loci set developed for the Compositae) across a variety of taxonomic levels. Intergeneric relationships were completely resolved: there are two sister groups, Arctium-Cousinia and Saussurea-Jurinea, which are in agreement with a morphological hypothesis. Intrageneric relationships among species of Arctium, Cousinia, and Saussurea are also well defined. Conversely, conflicting species relationships remain for Jurinea. Methodological choices significantly affected phylogenies in terms of topology, branch length, and support. Across all analyses, the phylogeny obtained using HybPiper and the strictest scheme of removing fast-evolving sites was estimated as the optimal. Regarding methodological choices, we conclude that (1) trees obtained under the coalescence approach are topologically more congruent between them than those inferred using the concatenation approach; (2) refining treatments only improved support values under the concatenation approach; and (3) branch support values are maximized when fast-evolving sites are removed in the concatenation approach, and when a higher number of loci is analyzed in the coalescence approach.
  • Sasic Zoric, Ljiljana; Stahls, Gunilla; Dan, Mihajla (2019)
    Wolbachia is a widespread bacterial endosymbiont among arthropod species. It influences the reproduction of the host species and also mitochondrial DNA diversity. Until now there were only a few studies that detected Wolbachia infections in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae), and this is the first broader study with the aim of examining the incidence of Wolbachia in the hoverfly genus Merodon. The obtained results indicate an infection rate of 96% and the presence of both Wolbachia supergroup A and B, which are characteristic for most of the infected arthropod species. Additionally, the presence of multiple Wolbachia strains in the Merodon aureus group species was detected and the mitochondrial DNA COI-based relationships of the group are discussed in the light of infection. Finally, we discuss plant-mediated horizontal transmission of Wolbachia strains among the studied hoverfly species.
  • Launis, Annina; Pykälä, Juha; van den Boom, Pieter; Serusiaux, Emmanuel; Myllys, Leena (2019)
    In this study we clarify the phylogeny and reassess the current taxonomy of the Micarea prasina group, focusing especially on the M. byssacea and M. micrococca complexes. The phylogeny was investigated using ITS, mtSSU and Mcm7 regions from 25 taxa belonging to the M. prasina group. A total of 107 new sequences were generated. Data were analyzed using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. The results reveal five undescribed well-supported lineages. Four of the lineages represent new species described as Micarea pseudomicrococca Launis & Myllys sp. nov., M. czarnotae Launis, van den Boom, Serusiaux & Myllys sp. nov., M. microareolata Launis, Pykala & Myllys sp. nov. and M. laeta Launis & Myllys sp. nov. In addition, a fifth lineage was revealed that requires further study. Micarea pseudomicrococca is characterized by an olive green granular thallus, small cream-white or brownish apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and two types of paraphyses up to 2 mu m wide. Micarea czarnotae forms a granular, densely granular or continuous olive green thallus, convex to hemispherical apothecia often with the Sedifolia-grey pigment and no crystalline granules in the thallus. Micarea microareolata is characterized by a +/- pale green areolate thallus (composed of goniocysts), cream-white apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and narrow spores. Micarea laeta has a vivid to olive green granular thallus, pale apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and wider spores compared to M. microareolata. Descriptions, images and a key are provided for the new species. Crystalline granules are introduced as a novel species-level character for Micarea.
  • Ikonen, Niina; Haanpaa, Minna; Ronkko, Esa; Lyytikainen, Outi; Kuusi, Markku; Ruutu, Petri; Kallio-Kokko, Hannimari; Mannonen, Laura; Lappalainen, Maija; Ziegler, Thedi; Julkunen, Ilkka (2010)
  • Yoshida, Satoko; Kim, Seungill; Wafula, Eric K.; Tanskanen, Jaakko; Kim, Yong-Min; Honaas, Loren; Yang, Zhenzhen; Spallek, Thomas; Conn, Caitlin E.; Ichihashi, Yasunori; Cheong, Kyeongchae; Cui, Songkui; Der, Joshua P.; Gundlach, Heidrun; Jiao, Yuannian; Hori, Chiaki; Ishida, Juliane K.; Kasahara, Hiroyuki; Kiba, Takatoshi; Kim, Myung-Shin; Koo, Namjin; Laohavisit, Anuphon; Lee, Yong-Hwan; Lumba, Shelley; McCourt, Peter; Mortimer, Jenny C.; Mutuku, J. Musembi; Nomura, Takahito; Sasaki-Sekimoto, Yuko; Seto, Yoshiya; Wang, Yu; Wakatake, Takanori; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; Demura, Taku; Yamaguchi, Shinjiro; Yoneyama, Koichi; Manabe, Ri-ichiroh; Nelson, David C.; Schulman, Alan H.; Timko, Michael P.; DePamphilis, Claude W.; Choi, Doil; Shirasu, Ken (2019)
    Parasitic plants in the genus Striga, commonly known as witchweeds, cause major crop losses in sub-Saharan Africa and pose a threat to agriculture worldwide. An understanding of Striga parasite biology, which could lead to agricultural solutions, has been hampered by the lack of genome information. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of Striga asiatica with 34,577 predicted protein-coding genes, which reflects gene family contractions and expansions that are consistent with a three-phase model of parasitic plant genome evolution. Striga seeds germinate in response to host-derived strigolactones (SLs) and then develop a specialized penetration structure, the haustorium, to invade the host root. A family of SL receptors has undergone a striking expansion, suggesting a molecular basis for the evolution of broad host range among Striga spp. We found that genes involved in lateral root development in non-parasitic model species are coordinately induced during haustorium development in Striga, suggesting a pathway that was partly co-opted during the evolution of the haustorium. In addition, we found evidence for horizontal transfer of host genes as well as retrotransposons, indicating gene flow to S. asiatica from hosts. Our results provide valuable insights into the evolution of parasitism and a key resource for the future development of Striga control strategies.
  • Murphy, Robert; Palm, Martin; Mustonen, Ville; Warringer, Jonas; Farewell, Anne; Parts, Leopold; Moradigaravand, Danesh (2021)
    Escherichia coli is a common bacterial species in the gastrointestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals and humans. Pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance in E. coli may emerge via host switching from animal reservoirs. Despite its potential clinical importance, knowledge of the population structure of commensal E. coli within wild hosts and the epidemiological links between E. coli in nonhuman hosts and E. coli in humans is still scarce. In this study, we analyzed the whole-genome sequencing data of a collection of 119 commensal E. coli strains recovered from the guts of 55 mammal and bird species in Mexico and Venezuela in the 1990s. We observed low concordance between the population structures of E. coli isolates colonizing wild animals and the phylogeny, taxonomy, and ecological and physiological attributes of the host species, with distantly related E. coli strains often colonizing the same or similar host species and distantly related host species often hosting closely related E. coli strains. We found no evidence for recent transmission of E. coli genomes from wild animals to either domesticated animals or humans. However, multiple livestockand human-related virulence factor genes were present in E. coli of wild animals, including virulence factors characteristic of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC), where several isolates from wild hosts harbored the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. Moreover, E. coli isolates from wild animal hosts often harbored known antibiotic resistance determinants, including those against ciprofloxacin, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and beta-lactams, with some determinants present in multiple, distantly related E. coli lineages colonizing very different host animals. We conclude that genome pools of E. coli colonizing the guts of wild animals and humans share virulence and antibiotic resistance genes, underscoring the idea that wild animals could serve as reservoirs for E. coli pathogenicity in human and livestock infections. IMPORTANCE Escherichia coli is a clinically important bacterial species implicated in humanand livestock-associated infections worldwide. The bacterium is known to reside in the guts of humans, livestock, and wild animals. Although wild animals are recognized as potential reservoirs for pathogenic E. coli strains, the knowledge of the population structure of E. coli in wild hosts is still scarce. In this study, we used fine resolution of whole-genome sequencing to provide novel insights into the evolution of E. coli genomes from a small yet diverse collection of strains recovered within a broad range of wild animal species (including mammals and birds), the coevolution of E. coli strains with their hosts, and the genetics of pathogenicity of E. coli strains in wild hosts in Mexico. Our results provide evidence for the clinical importance of wild animals as reservoirs for pathogenic strains and highlight the need to include nonhuman hosts in the surveillance programs for E. coli infections.
  • Hirase, Shotaro; Yamasaki, Yo Y.; Sekino, Masashi; Nishisako, Masato; Ikeda, Minoru; Hara, Motoyuki; Merilä, Juha; Kikuchi, Kiyoshi (2021)
    How early stages of speciation in free-spawning marine invertebrates proceed is poorly understood. The Western Pacific abalones, Haliotis discus, H. madaka, and H. gigantea, occur in sympatry with shared breeding season and are capable of producing viable F-1 hybrids in spite of being ecologically differentiated. Population genomic analyses revealed that although the three species are genetically distinct, there is evidence for historical and ongoing gene flow among these species. Evidence from demographic modeling suggests that reproductive isolation among the three species started to build in allopatry and has proceeded with gene flow, possibly driven by ecological selection. We identified 27 differentiation islands between the closely related H. discus and H. madaka characterized by high F-ST and d(A), but not high d(XY) values, as well as high genetic diversity in one H. madaka population. These genomic signatures suggest differentiation driven by recent ecological divergent selection in presence of gene flow outside of the genomic islands of differentiation. The differentiation islands showed low polymorphism in H. gigantea, and both high F-ST, d(XY), and d(A) values between H. discus and H. gigantea, as well as between H. madaka and H. gigantea. Collectively, the Western Pacific abalones appear to occupy the early stages speciation continuum, and the differentiation islands associated with ecological divergence among the abalones do not appear to have acted as barrier loci to gene flow in the younger divergences but appear to do so in older divergences.
  • Karlsson, Magnus; Durling, Mikael Brandstrom; Choi, Jaeyoung; Kosawang, Chatchai; Lackner, Gerald; Tzelepis, Georgios D.; Nygren, Kristiina; Dubey, Mukesh K.; Kamou, Nathalie; Levasseur, Anthony; Zapparata, Antonio; Wang, Jinhui; Amby, Daniel Buchvaldt; Jensen, Birgit; Sarrocco, Sabrina; Panteris, Emmanuel; Lagopodi, Anastasia L.; Poeggeler, Stefanie; Vannacci, Giovanni; Collinge, David B.; Hoffmeister, Dirk; Henrissat, Bernard; Lee, Yong-Hwan; Jensen, Dan Funck (2015)