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Journal of Nematology

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Genes -- Research, Microorganisms -- Genetic aspects


The host specificities and systematics of North American Heligmosomoides species remain particularly uncertain. The primary aim of this study was to verify that a species described previously based only on morphology, H. thomomyos, from pocket gopher (Rodentia: Geomyidae) hosts in Oregon represented a monophyletic lineage. In order to address this aspect, as well as to further understand relationships and geographic patterns, we carried out phylogenetic, genetic diversity, and population dynamic analyses using partial 18S rRNA and COI mtDNA sequences of Heligmosomoides specimens. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that there are likely multiple Heligmosomoides species present in these hosts. This was supported by the high degree of divergence and differentiation found among populations, significant population structure between locations, and a modest positive association between geographic and genetic distances. This study serves as the first molecular characterization and first phylogenetic report of H. thomomyos, and documents two new host records for this parasite. The relationship of H. thomomyos among pocket gopher hosts and to other Heligmosomoides species, however, warrants continued study.


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