The mitochondrial 12S gene is a suitable marker of populations of Sarcoptes scabiei from wombats, dogs and humans in Australia

LF Skerratt, NJ Campbell, A Murrell, Shelley Walton, D Kemp, SC Barker

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

    Abstract

    We sequenced part of the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene of 23 specimens of Sarcoptes scabiei from eight wombats, one dog and three humans. Twelve of the 326 nucleotide positions varied among these mites and there were nine haplotypes (sequences) that differed by 1-8 nucleotides. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that these mites were from two lineages: (1) mites from wombats from Victoria, Australia, and mites from the humans and dog from the Northern Territory, Australia (haplotypes 1-4, 9); and (2) mites from the humans and dog from the Northern Territory (haplotypes 5-8). Mites from the three different hosts (wombats, a dog and humans) had not diverged phylogenetically; rather, these mites had similar 12S sequences. Thus, we conclude that these mites from wombats, humans and a dog are closely related, and that they diverged from a common ancestor relatively recently. This conclusion is consistent with the argument that people and/or their dogs introduced to Australia the S. scabiei mites that infect wombats in Australia . So, S. scabiei, which has been blamed for the extinction of populations of wombats in Australia, may be a parasitic mite that was introduced to Australia with people and/or their dogs. These data show that the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene may be a suitable population marker of S. scabiei from wombats, dogs and humans in Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)376-379
    Number of pages4
    JournalParasitology Research
    Volume88
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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