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  • Author: S. Fujita x
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Prevalence and genetic diversity of Oesophagostomum stephanostomum in wild lowland gorillas at Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, Gabon

Abstract

Using a sedimentation method, the prevalence of the nodular worm Oesophagostomum stephanostomum (Nematoda: Strongylida) in western lowland gorillas at Moukalaba-Doudou National Park (MDNP), Gabon, was determined in fecal samples collected between January 2007 and October 2011, along with their coprocultures. Concurrently, possible zoonotic Oesophagostomum infections in villagers living near MDNP were assessed from their fecal samples collected during October and November of 2011. In the gorillas, strongylid (Oesophagostomum and/or hookworm) eggs were found in 47 of 235 fecal samples (20.0 %) and Oesophagostomum larvae were detected in 101 of 229 coprocultures (44.1 %). In the villagers, strongylid eggs were found in 9 of 71 fecal samples (12.7 %), but no Oesophagostomum larvae were detected in coprocultures. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit-1 (cox-1) region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of coprocultured Oesophagostomum larvae were amplified using parasite DNA extracted from 7–25 larvae/sample, cloned into Escherichia coli, and sequenced. Sequenced rDNA contained 353/354-bp long ITS1, 151-bp long 5.8S rDNA, and 227-bp long ITS2. Parts of clones showed variations at 1–3 bases in the ITS1 region at a frequency of 24/68 (35.3 %) and at 1–2 bases in the ITS2 region at a frequency of 7/68 (10.3 %), whereas the 5.8S rDNA was essentially identical. Sequenced cox-1 gene of the parasites, 849 bp in length, showed a higher number of nucleotide variations, mainly at the third nucleotide position of the codon. The majority of clones (27/41 (65.9 %)) had an identical amino acid sequence. These results suggest that at MDNP, Gabon, only a single population of O. stephanostomum with a degree of genetic diversity is prevalent in western lowland gorillas, without zoonotic complication in local inhabitants. The possible genetic variations in the ITS region of rDNA and cox-1gene of mtDNA presented here may be valuable when only a limited amount of material is available for the molecular species diagnosis of O. stephanostomum.

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