Evolution of vector transmitted parasites by host switching revealed through sequencing of Haemoproteus parasite mitochondrial genomes

ÇİLOĞLU A., Ellis V. A., Duc M., Downing P. A., İNCİ A., Bensch S.

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol.153, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 153
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106947
  • Journal Name: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Coevolution, Cophylogeny, Cospeciation, Host switching, Parasite evolution, Parasite genomics, AVIAN MALARIA PARASITES, PLASMODIUM, COSPECIATION, HAEMOSPORIDIANS, DIVERSIFICATION, SPECIATION, PHYLOGENY, DIVERSITY, BIRDS, DNA
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Parasite species evolve by switching to new hosts, cospeciating with their current hosts, or speciating on their current hosts. Vector transmitted parasites are expected to speciate by host switching, but confirming this hypothesis has proved challenging. Parasite DNA can be difficult to sequence, thus well resolved parasite phylogenies that are needed to distinguish modes of parasite speciation are often lacking. Here, we studied speciation in vector transmitted avian haemosporidian parasites in the genus Haemoproteus and their warbler hosts (family Acrocephalidae). We overcome the difficulty of generating parasite genetic data by combining nested long-range PCR with next generation sequencing to sequence whole mitochondrial genomes from 19 parasite haplotypes confined to Acrocephalidae warblers, resulting in a well-supported parasite phylogeny. We also generated a well-supported host phylogeny using five genes from published sources. Our phylogenetic analyses confirm that these parasites have speciated by host switching. We also found that closely related host species shared parasites which themselves were not closely related. Sharing of parasites by closely related host species is not due to host geographic range overlap, but may be the result of phylogenetically conserved host immune systems.