Female biased sex-ratio in Schistosoma mansoni after exposure to an allopatric intermediate host strain of Biomphalaria glabrata.

Abstract : : For parasites that require multiple hosts to complete their development, the interaction with the intermediate host may have an impact on parasite transmission and development in the definitive host. The human parasite Schistosoma mansoni needs two different hosts to complete its life cycle: the freshwater snail Biomphalaria glabrata (in South America) as intermediate host and a human or rodents as final host. To investigate the influence of the host environment on life history traits in the absence of selection, we performed experimental infections of two B. glabrata strains of different geographic origin with the same clonal population of S. mansoni. One B. glabrata strain is the sympatric host and the other one the allopatric host. We measured prevalence in the snail, the cercarial infectivity, sex-ratio, immunopathology in the final host and microsatellite frequencies of individual larvae in three successive generations. We show that, even if the parasite population is clonal based on neutral markers, S. mansoni keeps the capacity of generating phenotypic plasticity and/or variability for different life history traits when confront to an unusual environment, in this study the intermediate host. The most dramatic change was observed in sex-ratio: in average 1.7 times more female cercariae were produced when the parasite developed in an allopatric intermediate host.
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Julie M J Lepesant, Jérôme Boissier, Déborah Climent, Céline Cosseau, Christoph Grunau. Female biased sex-ratio in Schistosoma mansoni after exposure to an allopatric intermediate host strain of Biomphalaria glabrata.. Experimental Parasitology, Elsevier, 2013, 135, pp.350-356. ⟨10.1016/j.exppara.2013.07.023⟩. ⟨halsde-00856611⟩

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