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      The diverse echinostomes from East Africa: With a focus on species that use Biomphalaria and Bulinus as intermediate hosts

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          • 17 different clades of echinostomes were found in East Africa.
          • The majority (13/17) of clades use Biomphalaria or Bulinus as an intermediate host.
          • For four clades partial life cycles (2/3) were determined.


          Echinostomes are a diverse group of digenetic trematodes that are globally distributed. The diversity of echinostomes in Africa remains largely unknown, particularly in analyses using molecular markers. Therefore, we were interested in the composition and host usage patterns of African echinostomes, especially those that also use schistosome transmitting snails as intermediate hosts. We collected adults and larval stages of echinostomes from 19 different localities in East Africa (1 locality in Uganda and 18 in Kenya). In this study we provide locality information, host use, museum vouchers, and genetic data for two loci (28S and nad1) from 98 samples of echinostomes from East Africa. Combining morphological features, host use information, and phylogenetic analyses we found 17 clades of echinostomes in East Africa. Four clades were found to use more than one genus of freshwater snails as their first intermediate hosts. We also determined at least partial life cycles (2 of the 3) of four clades using molecular markers. Of the 17 clades, 13 use Biomphalaria or Bulinus as a first intermediate host. The overlap in host usage creates opportunities for competition, including against human schistosomes. Thus, our study can be used as a foundation for future studies to ascertain the interactions between schistosomes and echinostomes in their respective intermediate hosts.

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          Most cited references 52

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          MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for Bigger Datasets.

          We present the latest version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (Mega) software, which contains many sophisticated methods and tools for phylogenomics and phylomedicine. In this major upgrade, Mega has been optimized for use on 64-bit computing systems for analyzing larger datasets. Researchers can now explore and analyze tens of thousands of sequences in Mega The new version also provides an advanced wizard for building timetrees and includes a new functionality to automatically predict gene duplication events in gene family trees. The 64-bit Mega is made available in two interfaces: graphical and command line. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a native Microsoft Windows application that can also be used on Mac OS X. The command line Mega is available as native applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. They are intended for use in high-throughput and scripted analysis. Both versions are available from free of charge.
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            MrBayes 3: Bayesian phylogenetic inference under mixed models.

            MrBayes 3 performs Bayesian phylogenetic analysis combining information from different data partitions or subsets evolving under different stochastic evolutionary models. This allows the user to analyze heterogeneous data sets consisting of different data types-e.g. morphological, nucleotide, and protein-and to explore a wide variety of structured models mixing partition-unique and shared parameters. The program employs MPI to parallelize Metropolis coupling on Macintosh or UNIX clusters.
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              Biodiversity inhibits parasites: Broad evidence for the dilution effect.

              Infectious diseases of humans, wildlife, and domesticated species are increasing worldwide, driving the need to understand the mechanisms that shape outbreaks. Simultaneously, human activities are drastically reducing biodiversity. These concurrent patterns have prompted repeated suggestions that biodiversity and disease are linked. For example, the dilution effect hypothesis posits that these patterns are causally related; diverse host communities inhibit the spread of parasites via several mechanisms, such as by regulating populations of susceptible hosts or interfering with parasite transmission. However, the generality of the dilution effect hypothesis remains controversial, especially for zoonotic diseases of humans. Here we provide broad evidence that host diversity inhibits parasite abundance using a meta-analysis of 202 effect sizes on 61 parasite species. The magnitude of these effects was independent of host density, study design, and type and specialization of parasites, indicating that dilution was robust across all ecological contexts examined. However, the magnitude of dilution was more closely related to the frequency, rather than density, of focal host species. Importantly, observational studies overwhelmingly documented dilution effects, and there was also significant evidence for dilution effects of zoonotic parasites of humans. Thus, dilution effects occur commonly in nature, and they may modulate human disease risk. A second analysis identified similar effects of diversity in plant-herbivore systems. Thus, although there can be exceptions, our results indicate that biodiversity generally decreases parasitism and herbivory. Consequently, anthropogenic declines in biodiversity could increase human and wildlife diseases and decrease crop and forest production.

                Author and article information

                Acta Trop
                Acta Trop
                Acta Tropica
                1 May 2019
                May 2019
                : 193
                : 38-49
                [a ]Department of Biology, Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, 1 University of New Mexico, MSC03 2020, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA
                [b ]Center for Biotechnology Research and Development, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), P.O. Box 54840-00200, Nairobi, Kenya
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: 1 University of New Mexico, MSC03 2020, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA. mlaidemitt@
                © 2019 The Authors

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (



                schistosoma, biodiversity, echinostomatidae, dna barcode, echinostomiasis


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