Indexed on: 01 Jan '01Published on: 01 Jan '01Published in: Parasitology Research
The taxonomic status of the two known strains of Schistosoma intercalatum, the Lower Guinea strain (originating from Edea, Cameroon) and the Zaire strain (originating from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire) was examined using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Two additional species within the S. haematobium group, S. haematobium and S. mattheei, were included in the study. DNA was extracted from four male and four female worms of each species and strain under investigation. In all, 13 primers gave reproducible and informative marker patterns; the monomorphic bands in all the males and females of each sample were scored, and 138 bands were included in the final analysis. Overall, 14 RAPD fragments were shared by all the schistosomes studied, and 19 RAPD fragments were considered to be sex markers. Only 22% (20/91) of the RAPD fragments were shared between S. intercalatum Zaire and S. intercalatum Cameroon. The mean values recorded for the Nei and Li's genetic distances between S. haematobium and S. mattheei and between S. intercalatum Zaire and S. intercalatum Cameroon were 0.546 and 0.596, respectively. A principal component analysis and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA/MANOVA) showed a significant separation between S. intercalatum Zaire and S. intercalatum Cameroon. The data support the hypothesis that S. intercalatum Zaire and S. intercalatum Cameroon are distinct species. Additional molecular-biology studies are in progress that involve the use of nuclear and mitochondrial markers to confirm the extent of the genetic divergence prior to the establishment of final decision on the taxonomic status of the two strains of S. intercalatum.