Microevolutionary Patterns and Molecular Markers: The Genetics of Geographic Variation in Ascari suum


  • S. A. Nadler


Molecular markers have been used only rarely to characterize the population genetic structure of nematodes. Published studies have suggested that different taxa may show distinct genetic architectures. Isoenzyme and RAPD markers have been used to investigate geographic variation of Ascaris suum at the level of infrapopulations (nematodes within individual hosts), within localities, and among geographic regions. Independent estimates of genetic differentiation among population samples based on isoenzyme and RAPD data showed similar patterns and substantial correlation. Heterozygote deficiencies within infrapopulations and large values for inbreeding coefficients among infrapopulations suggested that the composition of these populations was not consistent with a model of random recruitment from a large panmictic pool of life-cycle stages. Both isoenzyme and RAPD markers revealed moderate levels of genetic differentiation among samples representing infrapopulations and localities. Of total gene diversity, 9.4% (isoenzyme) and 9.2% (RAPD) was partitioned among infrapopulations. Geographic localities accounted for 7.8% (isoenzyme) and 6.2% (RAPD) of total diversity. Only infrapopulations from the same farm had low levels of differentiation. Key words: Ascaris suum, ecology, genetics, geographic variation, isoenzymes, microevolution, RAPD.