1 Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences3 University of Melbourne4 Section of Parasitology, Health and Development, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Guangzhou ZhongDa Medical Equipment Co.6 University of Melbourne7 Section of Parasitology, Health and Development, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Københavns Universitet
The whipworm of humans, Trichuris trichiura, is responsible for a neglected tropical disease (NTD) of major importance in tropical and subtropical countries of the world. Whipworms also infect animal hosts, including pigs, dogs and non-human primates, cause clinical disease (trichuriasis) similar to that of humans. Although Trichuris species are usually considered to be host specific, it is not clear whether non-human primates are infected with T. trichiura or other species. In the present study, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome as well as the first and second internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2) of Trichuris from the François' leaf-monkey (langur), and compared them with homologous sequences from human- and pig-derived Trichuris. In addition, sequence comparison of a conserved mt ribosomal gene among multiple individual whipworms revealed substantial nucleotide differences among these three host species but limited sequence variation within each of them. The molecular data indicate that the monkey-derived whipworm is a separate species from that of humans. Future work should focus on detailed population genetic and morphological studies (by electron microscopy) of whipworms from various non-humans primates and humans.