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The population genetic structure of Biomphalaria choanomphala in Lake Victoria, East Africa: implications for schistosomiasis transmission

Standley, Claire J.; Goodacre, Sara L.; Wade, Christopher M.; Stothard, J. Russell


Claire J. Standley

Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Genetics

Assistant Professor

J. Russell Stothard


Background: The freshwater snail Biomphalaria acts as the intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni, a globally important human parasite. Understanding the population structure of intermediate host species can elucidate transmission dynamics and assist in developing appropriate control methods.
Methods: We examined levels of population genetic structure and diversity in 29 populations of Biomphalaria choanomphala collected around the shoreline of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, where S. mansoni is hyper-endemic. Molecular markers were utilized to estimate the degree to which snail populations are genetically differentiated from one another.
Results: High levels of snail genetic diversity were found coupled with evidence of geographically-determined population structure but low levels of local inbreeding. The data are consistent with an effect of schistosome infection on population structure of intermediate host snails, but other factors, such as habitat and historical demographic changes, could also be important determinants of the degree of population genetic structure in Biomphalaria choanomphala.
Conclusions: The low stratification of populations and high genetic diversity indicates potentially less local compatibility with intermediate snail populations than previously theorized, and highlights the importance of coordinated parasite control strategies across the region.


Standley, C. J., Goodacre, S. L., Wade, C. M., & Stothard, J. R. (2014). The population genetic structure of Biomphalaria choanomphala in Lake Victoria, East Africa: implications for schistosomiasis transmission. Parasites and Vectors, 7(1), Article 524.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 5, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2014
Publication Date 2014-12
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 26, 2016
Journal Parasites & Vectors
Electronic ISSN 1756-3305
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Article Number 524
Keywords Biomphalaria choanomphala ; Schistosoma mansoni ; Population structure ; Population genetics
Public URL
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