Genetic diversity and phylogeography of highly zoonotic Echinococcus granulosus genotype G1 in the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico) based on 8279 bp of mtDNA

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Echinococcus granulosus is a taeniid cestode and the etiological agent of an infectious zoonotic disease known as cystic echinococcosis (CE) or hydatid disease. CE is a serious public health concern in many parts of the world, including the Americas, where it is highly endemic in many regions. Echinococcus granulosus displays high intraspecific genetic variability and is divided into multiple genotypes (G1–G8, G10) with differences in their biology and etiology. Of these, genotype G1 is responsible for the majority of human and livestock infections and has the broadest host spectrum. However, despite the high significance to the public and livestock health, the data on genetic variability and regional genetic differences of genotype G1 in America are scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic variability and phylogeography of G1 in several countries in America by sequencing a large portion of the mitochondrial genome. We analysed 8279 bp of mtDNA for 52 E. granulosus G1 samples from sheep, cattle and pigs collected in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, covering majority of countries in the Americas where G1 has been reported. The phylogenetic network revealed 29 haplotypes and a high haplotype diversity (Hd = 0.903). The absence of phylogeographic segregation between different regions in America suggests the importance of animal transportation in shaping the genetic structure of E. granulosus G1. In addition, our study revealed many highly divergent haplotypes, indicating a long and complex evolutionary history of E. granulosus G1 in the Americas.<<<Read More>>>