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Genes 2010, 1(1), 102-123; doi:10.3390/genes1010102

An Infectious Topic in Reticulate Evolution: Introgression and Hybridization in Animal Parasites

*  and
Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, 3258 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 April 2010 / Revised: 7 June 2010 / Accepted: 7 June 2010 / Published: 9 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reticulate Evolution)
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Little attention has been given to the role that introgression and hybridization have played in the evolution of parasites. Most studies are host-centric and ask if the hybrid of a free-living species is more or less susceptible to parasite infection. Here we focus on what is known about how introgression and hybridization have influenced the evolution of protozoan and helminth parasites of animals. There are reports of genome or gene introgression from distantly related taxa into apicomplexans and filarial nematodes. Most common are genetic based reports of potential hybridization among congeneric taxa, but in several cases, more work is needed to definitively conclude current hybridization. In the medically important Trypanosoma it is clear that some clonal lineages are the product of past hybridization events. Similarly, strong evidence exists for current hybridization in human helminths such as Schistosoma and Ascaris. There remain topics that warrant further examination such as the potential hybrid origin of polyploid platyhelminths. Furthermore, little work has investigated the phenotype or fitness, and even less the epidemiological significance of hybrid parasites.
Keywords: hybridization; introgression; parasites; helminths; protozoans hybridization; introgression; parasites; helminths; protozoans
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Detwiler, J.T.; Criscione, C.D. An Infectious Topic in Reticulate Evolution: Introgression and Hybridization in Animal Parasites. Genes 2010, 1, 102-123.

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