Nyakaana, Silvester3; Stothard, J. Russell4; Nalugwa, Allen3; Webster, Bonnie L.5; Lange, Charles N.7; Jørgensen, Aslak8; Rollinson, David4; Kristensen, Thomas K.9
1 Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Makerere University, Faculty of Agriculture, Kampala, Uganda4 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine5 Natural History Museum6 National Museums of Kenya7 National Museums of Kenya8 Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet9 Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Bulinus globosus, a key intermediate host for Schistosoma haematobium that causes urinary schistosomiasis, is a hermaphroditic freshwater Planorbid snail species that inhabits patchy and transient water bodies prone to large seasonal variations in water availability. Although capable of self-fertilizing, this species has been reported to be preferentially out crossing. In this study, we characterized the population genetic structure of 19 B. globosus populations sampled across the Lake Victoria basin and coastal Kenya using four polymorphic microsatellite loci. Population genetic structure was characterized and quantified using FST statistics and Bayesian clustering algorithms. The four loci used in this study contained sufficient statistical power to detect low levels of population genetic differentiation and were highly polymorphic with the number of alleles per locus across populations ranging from 16 to 22. Average observed and expected heterozygosities across loci in each population ranged from 0.13 to 0.69 and from 0.39 to 0.79, respectively. Twenty-five of the seventy-six possible population-locus comparisons significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium proportions after Bonferroni corrections, mostly due to the deficiency of heterozygotes. Significant genetic differentiation was observed between populations and Bayesian inferences identified 15 genetic clusters. The excess homozygosity, significant inbreeding and population genetic differentiation observed in B. globosus populations are likely to be due to the habitat patchiness, mating system and the proneness to cyclic extinction and recolonization in transient habitats.