Whole-genome sequence of the bovine blood fluke <i>Schistosoma bovis</i> supports interspecific hybridization with <i>S</i>. <i>haematobium</i>

Published on 2019-01-23T18:53:48Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Mesenteric infection by the parasitic blood fluke <i>Schistosoma bovis</i> is a common veterinary problem in Africa and the Middle East and occasionally in the Mediterranean Region. The species also has the ability to form interspecific hybrids with the human parasite <i>S</i>. <i>haematobium</i> with natural hybridisation observed in West Africa, presenting possible zoonotic transmission. Additionally, this exchange of alleles between species may dramatically influence disease dynamics and parasite evolution. We have generated a 374 Mb assembly of the <i>S</i>. <i>bovis</i> genome using Illumina and PacBio-based technologies. Despite infecting different hosts and organs, the genome sequences of <i>S</i>. <i>bovis</i> and <i>S</i>. <i>haematobium</i> appeared strikingly similar with 97% sequence identity. The two species share 98% of protein-coding genes, with an average sequence identity of 97.3% at the amino acid level. Genome comparison identified large continuous parts of the genome (up to several 100 kb) showing almost 100% sequence identity between <i>S</i>. <i>bovis</i> and <i>S</i>. <i>haematobium</i>. It is unlikely that this is a result of genome conservation and provides further evidence of natural interspecific hybridization between <i>S</i>. <i>bovis</i> and <i>S</i>. <i>haematobium</i>. Our results suggest that foreign DNA obtained by interspecific hybridization was maintained in the population through multiple meiosis cycles and that hybrids were sexually reproductive, producing viable offspring. The <i>S</i>. <i>bovis</i> genome assembly forms a highly valuable resource for studying schistosome evolution and exploring genetic regions that are associated with species-specific phenotypic traits.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Oey, Harald; Zakrzewski, Martha; Gravermann, Kerstin; Young, Neil D.; K. Korhonen, Pasi; N. Gobert, Geoffrey; et al. (2019): Whole-genome sequence of the bovine blood fluke Schistosoma bovis supports interspecific hybridization with S. haematobium. PLOS Pathogens. Collection.