BackgroundAmong Chagas disease triatomine vectors, the largest genus, Triatoma, includes species of high public health interest. Triatoma dimidiata, the main vector throughout Central America and up to Ecuador, presents extensive phenotypic, genotypic, and behavioral diversity in sylvatic, peridomestic and domestic habitats, and non-domiciliated populations acting as reinfestation sources. DNA sequence analyses, phylogenetic reconstruction methods, and genetic variation approaches are combined to investigate the haplotype profiling, genetic polymorphism, phylogeography, and evolutionary trends of T. dimidiata and its closest relatives within Triatoma. This is the largest interpopulational analysis performed on a triatomine species so far.Methodology and FindingsTriatomines from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil were used. Triatoma dimidiata populations follow different evolutionary divergences in which geographical isolation appears to have had an important influence. A southern Mexican–northern Guatemalan ancestral form gave rise to two main clades. One clade remained confined to the Yucatan peninsula and northern parts of Chiapas State, Guatemala, and Honduras, with extant descendants deserving specific status. Within the second clade, extant subspecies diversity was shaped by adaptive radiation derived from Guatemalan ancestral populations. Central American populations correspond to subspecies T. d. dimidiata. A southern spread into Panama and Colombia gave the T. d. capitata forms, and a northwestern spread rising from Guatemala into Mexico gave the T. d. maculipennis forms. Triatoma hegneri appears as a subspecific insular form.ConclusionsThe comparison with very numerous Triatoma species allows us to reach highly supported conclusions not only about T. dimidiata, but also on different, important Triatoma species groupings and their evolution. The very large intraspecific genetic variability found in T. dimidiata sensu lato has never been detected in a triatomine species before. The distinction between the five different taxa furnishes a new frame for future analyses of the different vector transmission capacities and epidemiological characteristics of Chagas disease. Results indicate that T. dimidiata will offer problems for control, although dwelling insecticide spraying might be successful against introduced populations in Ecuador.
Abstract. Kissing bugs or triatomines (Reduviidae: Triatominae) are vectors of the Chagas' disease agent Trypanosoma cruzi. There is a current need for more sensitive tools for use in discrimination of different bug populations and species, thus allowing a better understanding of these insects as it relates to disease transmission and control. In a preliminary analysis of the mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA (mtlsurRNA) and cytochrome B (mtCytB) genes, we used DNA sequencing to study species identification and phylogeny. In both examined gene regions, about 46% of nucleotide positions exhibited polymorphism. The examined region of mtCytB appears to have evolved more rapidly than the examined region of mtlsurRNA. Phylogenetic analysis of both gene fragments in the examined species produced similar results that were generally consistent with the accepted taxonomy of the subfamily. The two major tribes, Rhodniini and Triatomini, were supported, along with additional clades that corresponded to accepted species complexes within the Rhodnius and Triatoma genera. The one chief exception was that Psammolestes coreodes sorted into the Rhodnius prolixus-robustus-neglectus clade, with bootsrap values of 99% and 81%, respectively, for the mtlsurRNA and mtCytB fragments. All of the individual species examined could be distinguished at both genetic loci.
We analyzed the main karyologic changes that have occurred during the dispersion of Triatoma infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease. We identified two allopatric groups, named Andean and non-Andean. The Andean specimens present C-heterochromatic blocks in most of their 22 chromosomes, whereas non-Andean specimens have only 4–7 autosomes with C-banding. These heterochromatin differences are the likely cause of a striking DNA content variation (approximately 30%) between Andean and non-Andean insects. Our study, together with previous historical and genetic data, suggests that T. infestans was originally a sylvatic species, with large quantities of DNA and heterochromatin, inhabiting the Andean region of Bolivia. However, the spread of domestic T. infestans throughout the non-Andean regions only involved insects with an important reduction of heterochromatin and DNA amounts. We propose that heterochromatin and DNA variation mainly reflected adaptive genomic changes that contribute to the ability of T. infestans to survive, reproduce, and disperse in different environments.
Eight natural Bolivian populations of two closely related species of Triatominae, Triatoma sordida and T. guasayana, were analysed by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis at 20 loci. Both species were readily separated and no natural hybrid was observed. Among the silvatic sample of T. sordida, strong departure from panmixia within and between loci was detected in two sites of the Chaco, suggesting two reproductively separate populations easily recognized at Idh2 and Mdh2 loci. Genetic distance between them was in agreement with the hypothesis of distinct species. However, the detection of 3% of putative hybrids suggested a recent evolutionary divergence.
One hundred and fifty-seven specimens of Bolivian Triatoma infestans (Klug 1834), including 44 from the silvatic focus at Cochabamba (Bolivia), were compared using morphometric characters of the head capsule. From these specimens, 10 silvatic and 28 domestic adults were also compared using additional morphometric characters of the membranous part of the hemelytra. Nonparametric univariate comparisons between specimens from silvatic and domestic ecotopes indicated the importance of the postocular region as a possible diagnostic character for nymphs and adults from the different ecotopes, and they detected wing differences in males. Populations became more distinct entities when head or wing characters were considered jointly in canonical variate analysis. Regardless of whether size variation was considered, canonical variate analysis generally showed greater significance for wing than for head features. These morphological differences between silvatic and domestic bugs, particularly unrelated to size differences, are interpreted to indicate incipient separation between silvatic and domestic populations that had not been detected by previous isoenzyme analyses, and suggest a reinterpretation of the epidemiological significance of silvatic populations of T. infestans in Bolivia.
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