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Title: Genetic analyses of the structure, dynamics and mating system of Bulinus forskalii group snail populations (Gastropoda : Pulmonata) from Cameroon
Author: Gow, J. L.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2002
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Schistosomes cause human schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease infecting over 200 million people throughout the tropical and subtropical world. The parasite’s indirect life cycle requires a freshwater snail intermediate host, and its transmission dynamics is influenced by snail population dynamics. Subsequently, a thorough understanding of these population dynamics is important to our understanding of the epidemiology of schistosomiasis. With this is mind, this study investigated the processes underlying population dynamics of two snail intermediate hosts; Bulinus forskalii and the closely related B. camerunensis. Molecular markers provide powerful tools with which to address ecological questions and a suite of eleven polymorphic microsatellite loci, isolated and characterized from B. forskalii DNA, facilitated investigation of the mating system, structure and dynamics of B. forskalii and B. camerunensis populations from Cameroon. Microsatellite mutations detected during the course of a B. forskalii breeding experiment enabled estimation of the rate and mode of mutation of these markers. Mating system plays an important role in determining population structure and genetic analyses of laboratory-bred parent-offspring B. forskalii, as well as population genetic surveys of B. forskalii and B. camerunensis, identified this snail as a preferential selfer. The population genetic analyses of spatial and temporal data further suggested a high level of gene flow maintains genetic diversity within populations. The counteracting, eroding effects of genetic drift appear to be more important in driving genetic differentiation in the highly dynamic B. forskalii populations, compared with the relatively stable B. camerunensis ones. Both macrogeographic ecological and climatic parameters and microgeographic non-climatic factors influence B. forskalii population genetic structure. This study demonstrates the power of molecular markers, providing novel insight into factors determining the population structure and dynamics of two schistosome intermediate hosts. From this, a better understanding of the co-evolution of snail-schistosome interactions improves our knowledge of the epidemiology of human schistosomiasis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available