Population genetic structure of Theileria parva field isolates from indigenous cattle populations of Uganda

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Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
Theileria parva causes East Coast Fever (ECF) a protozoan infection which manifests as a non-symptomatic syndrome among endemically stable indigenous cattle populations. Knowledge of the current genetic diversity and population structure of T. parva is critical for predicting pathogen evolutionary trends to inform development of effective control strategies. In this study the population genetic structure of 78 field isolates of T. parva from indigenous cattle (Ankole, n = 41 and East African shorthorn Zebu (EASZ), n = 37) sampled from the different agro ecological zones (AEZs) of Uganda was investigated. A total of eight mini- and micro-satellite markers encompassing the four chromosomes of T. parva were used to genotype the study field isolates. The genetic diversity of the surveyed T. parva populations was observed to range from 0.643 ± 0.55 to 0.663 ± 0.41 among the Central and Western AEZs respectively. The overall Wright’s F index showed significant genetic variation between the surveyed T. parva populations based on the different AEZs and indigenous cattle breeds (FST = 0.133, p < 0.01) and (FST = 0.101, p < 0.01) respectively. Significant pairwise population genetic differentiations (p < 0.05) were observed with FST values ranging from 0.048 to 0.173 between the eastern and northern, eastern and western populations respectively. The principal component analysis (PCA) showed a high level of genetic and geographic sub-structuring among populations. Linkage disequilibrium was observed when populations from all the study AEZs were treated as a single population and when analysed separately. On the overall, the significant genetic diversity and geographic sub-structuring exhibited among the study T. parva isolates has critical implications for ECF control.
Agro-ecological zones, Indigenous cattle populations, Infection and treatment method, Population genetic diversity, Theileria parva isolates Uganda
Muwanika, V., Kabi, F., & Masembe, C. (2016). Population genetic structure of Theileria parva field isolates from indigenous cattle populations of Uganda. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 7(2), 291-297.