ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sympatric speciation-the divergence of populations into new species in absence of geographic barriers to hybridization-is the most debated mode of diversification of life forms. Parasitic organisms are prominent models for sympatric speciation, because they may colonise new hosts within the same geographic area and diverge through host specialization. However, it has been argued that this mode of parasite divergence is not strict sympatric speciation, because host shifts likely cause the sudden effective isolation of parasites, particularly if these are transmitted by vectors and therefore cannot select their hosts. Strict sympatric speciation would involve parasite lineages diverging within a single host species, without any population subdivision. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we report a case of extraordinary divergence of sympatric, ecologically distinct, and reproductively isolated malaria parasites within a single avian host species, which apparently occurred without historical or extant subdivision of parasite or host populations. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This discovery of within-host speciation changes our current view on the diversification potential of malaria parasites, because neither geographic isolation of host populations nor colonization of new host species are any longer necessary conditions to the formation of new parasite species.
Project description:Cryptic species complexes are common among parasites, which tend to have large populations and are subject to rapid evolution. Such complexes may arise through host-parasite co-evolution and/or host switching. For parasites that reproduce directly on their host, there might be increased opportunities for sympatric speciation, either by exploiting different hosts or different micro-habitats within the same host. The genus Gyrodactylus is a specious group of viviparous monogeneans. These ectoparasites transfer between teleosts during social contact and cause significant host mortality. Their impact on the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), an iconic evolutionary and ecological model species, is well established and yet the population genetics and phylogenetics of these parasites remains understudied. Using mtDNA sequencing of the host and its parasites, we provide evidence of cryptic speciation in Gyrodactylus bullatarudis, G. poeciliae and G. turnbulli. For the COII gene, genetic divergence of lineages within each parasite species ranged between 5.7 and 17.2%, which is typical of the divergence observed between described species in this genus. Different lineages of G. turnbulli and G. poeciliae appear geographically isolated, which could imply allopatric speciation. In addition, for G. poeciliae, co-evolution with a different host species cannot be discarded due to its host range. This parasite was originally described on P. caucana, but for the first time here it is also recorded on the guppy. The two cryptic lineages of G. bullatarudis showed considerable geographic overlap. G. bullatarudis has a known wide host range and it can also utilize a killifish (Anablepsoides hartii) as a temporary host. This killifish is capable of migrating overland and it could act as a transmission vector between otherwise isolated populations. Additional genetic markers are needed to confirm the presence of these cryptic Gyrodactylus species complexes, potentially leading to more in-depth genetic, ecological and evolutionary analyses on this multi-host-parasite system.
Project description:Sympatric speciation through intraspecific social parasitism has been proposed for the evolution of Hymenopteran workerless parasites. Such inquilines exploit related host taxa to produce their own sexual offspring. The relatedness of inquilines to their hosts has been generalized in Emery's rule, suggesting that social parasites are close or the closest relatives to their host species. If the closest relative of each parasite is its host, then multiple independent origins of the parasite species are implied even within a single genus, probably through sympatric speciation. To test the plausibility of sympatric speciation in inquilines, we conducted a mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic analysis in three inquiline-host pairs of Myrmica ant species. We show that congeneric inquilines have originated independently several times. We also show that two of the inqulines are more closely related to their hosts than to any other species. Our results suggest sympatric speciation of Myrmica inquilines. Sympatric speciation is probably facilitated by the social biology and ecology of Myrmica, with polygyny as a prerequisite for the evolution of intraspecific parasitism.
Project description:The malaria parasites (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida) of birds are believed to have diversified across the avian host phylogeny well after the origin of most major host lineages. Although many symbionts with direct transmission codiversify with their hosts, mechanisms of species formation in vector-borne parasites, including the role of host shifting, are poorly understood. Here, we examine the hosts of sister lineages in a phylogeny of 181 putative species of malaria parasites of New World terrestrial birds to determine the role of shifts between host taxa in the formation of new parasite species. We find that host shifting, often across host genera and families, is the rule. Sympatric speciation by host shifting would require local reproductive isolation as a prerequisite to divergent selection, but this mechanism is not supported by the generalized host-biting behavior of most vectors of avian malaria parasites. Instead, the geographic distribution of individual parasite lineages in diverse hosts suggests that species formation is predominantly allopatric and involves host expansion followed by local host-pathogen coevolution and secondary sympatry, resulting in local shifting of parasite lineages across hosts.
Project description:Parasites may have strong eco-evolutionary interactions with their hosts. Consequently, they may contribute to host diversification. The radiation of cichlid fish in Lake Victoria provides a good model to study the role of parasites in the early stages of speciation. We investigated patterns of macroparasite infection in a community of 17 sympatric cichlids from a recent radiation and 2 older species from 2 nonradiating lineages, to explore the opportunity for parasite-mediated speciation. Host species had different parasite infection profiles, which were only partially explained by ecological factors (diet, water depth). This may indicate that differences in infection are not simply the result of differences in exposure, but that hosts evolved species-specific resistance, consistent with parasite-mediated divergent selection. Infection was similar between sampling years, indicating that the direction of parasite-mediated selection is stable through time. We morphologically identified 6 Cichlidogyrus species, a gill parasite that is considered a good candidate for driving parasite-mediated speciation, because it is host species-specific and has radiated elsewhere in Africa. Species composition of Cichlidogyrus infection was similar among the most closely related host species (members of the Lake Victoria radiation), but two more distantly related species (belonging to nonradiating sister lineages) showed distinct infection profiles. This is inconsistent with a role for Cichlidogyrus in the early stages of divergence. To conclude, we find significant interspecific variation in parasite infection profiles, which is temporally consistent. We found no evidence that Cichlidogyrus-mediated selection contributes to the early stages of speciation. Instead, our findings indicate that species differences in infection accumulate after speciation.
Project description:Although parasitic organisms are found worldwide, the relative importance of host specificity and geographic isolation for parasite speciation has been explored in only a few systems. Here, we study Plasmodium parasites known to infect Asian nonhuman primates, a monophyletic group that includes the lineage leading to the human parasite Plasmodium vivax and several species used as laboratory models in malaria research. We analyze the available data together with new samples from three sympatric primate species from Borneo: The Bornean orangutan and the long-tailed and the pig-tailed macaques. We find several species of malaria parasites, including three putatively new species in this biodiversity hotspot. Among those newly discovered lineages, we report two sympatric parasites in orangutans. We find no differences in the sets of malaria species infecting each macaque species indicating that these species show no host specificity. Finally, phylogenetic analysis of these data suggests that the malaria parasites infecting Southeast Asian macaques and their relatives are speciating three to four times more rapidly than those with other mammalian hosts such as lemurs and African apes. We estimate that these events took place in approximately a 3-4-Ma period. Based on the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the macaque malarias, we hypothesize that the diversification of this group of parasites has been facilitated by the diversity, geographic distributions, and demographic histories of their primate hosts.
Project description:Host organism offers an environment for a parasite, and this environment is heterogenous within the host, variable among individual as well as between the hosts, and changing during the host's lifetime. This heterogeneity may act as a prerequisite for parasite species divergence. Intraspecific variability related to a certain type of heterogeneity may indicate an initial stage of speciation, and thus poses an evolutionary importance. Here we analyzed genetic and morphologic variation of trematode metacercariae of Microphallus piriformes (Trematoda, Microphallidae). Genetic variability of trematodes was assessed from sequences of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1). Morphological variation of metacercarial body shape was for the first time analyzed using geometric morphometrics. Parasites from the White Sea and the Barents Sea coasts demonstrated partial genetic divergence (according to COI sequence analysis) and had significantly different body shape. Neither genetic nor morphological variation of metacercariae was related to intermediate host species. We discuss possible causes of the observed genetic divergence of parasite populations in different geographic regions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The role of tectonic uplift in stimulating speciation in South Africa's only alpine zone, the Drakensberg, has not been explicitly examined. Tectonic processes may influence speciation both through the creation of novel habitats and by physically isolating plant populations. We use the Afrotemperate endemic daisy genus Macowania to explore the timing and mode (geographic versus adaptive) of speciation in this region. Between sister species pairs we expect high morphological divergence where speciation has happened in sympatry (adaptive) while with geographic (vicariant) speciation we may expect to find less morphological divergence and a greater degree of allopatry. A dated molecular phylogenetic hypothesis for Macowania elucidates species' relationships and is used to address the potential impact of uplift on diversification. Morphological divergence of a small sample of reproductive and vegetative characters, used as a proxy for adaptive divergence, is measured against species' range distributions to estimate mode of speciation across two subclades in the genus. RESULTS:The Macowania crown age is consistent with the hypothesis of post-uplift diversification, and we find evidence for both vicariant and adaptive speciation between the two subclades within Macowania. Both subclades exhibit strong signals of range allopatry, suggesting that geographic isolation was important in speciation. One subclade, associated with dry, rocky environments at high altitudes, shows very little morphological and ecological differentiation but high range allopatry. The other subclade occupies a greater variety of habitats and exhibits far greater morphological differentiation, but contains species with overlapping distribution ranges. CONCLUSIONS:Species in Macowania are likely to have diversified in response to tectonic uplift, and we invoke uplift and uplift-mediated erosion as the main drivers of speciation. The greater relative morphological divergence in sympatric species of Macowania indicates that speciation in the non-sympatric taxa may not have required obvious adaptive differences, implying that simple geographic isolation was the driving force for speciation ('neutral speciation').
Project description:Multilocus microsatellite genotyping of Plasmodium knowlesi isolates previously indicated 2 divergent parasite subpopulations in humans on the island of Borneo, each associated with a different macaque reservoir host species. Geographic divergence was also apparent, and independent sequence data have indicated particularly deep divergence between parasites from mainland Southeast Asia and Borneo. To resolve the overall population structure, multilocus microsatellite genotyping was conducted on a new sample of 182 P. knowlesi infections (obtained from 134 humans and 48 wild macaques) from diverse areas of Malaysia, first analyzed separately and then in combination with previous data. All analyses confirmed 2 divergent clusters of human cases in Malaysian Borneo, associated with long-tailed macaques and pig-tailed macaques, and a third cluster in humans and most macaques in peninsular Malaysia. High levels of pairwise divergence between each of these sympatric and allopatric subpopulations have implications for the epidemiology and control of this zoonotic species.
Project description:The Rhagoletis pomonella sibling species complex is a model for sympatric speciation by means of host plant shifting. However, genetic variation aiding the sympatric radiation of the group in the United States may have geographic roots. Inversions on chromosomes 1-3 affecting diapause traits adapting flies to differences in host fruiting phenology appear to exist in the United States because of a series of secondary introgression events from Mexico. Here, we investigate whether these inverted regions of the genome may have subsequently evolved to become more recalcitrant to introgression relative to collinear regions, consistent with new models for chromosomal speciation. As predicted by the models, gene trees for six nuclear loci mapping to chromosomes other than 1-3 tended to have shallower node depths separating Mexican and U.S. haplotypes relative to an outgroup sequence than nine genes residing on chromosomes 1-3. We discuss the implications of secondary contact and differential introgression with respect to sympatric host race formation and speciation in Rhagoletis, reconciling some of the seemingly dichotomous views of Mayr, Dobzhansky, and Bush concerning modes of divergence.
Project description:Selective pressures between hosts and their parasites can result in reciprocal evolution or adaptation of specific life history traits. Local adaptation of resident hosts and parasites should lead to increase parasite infectivity/virulence (higher compatibility) when infecting hosts from the same location (in sympatry) than from a foreign location (in allopatry). Analysis of geographic variations in compatibility phenotypes is the most common proxy used to infer local adaptation. However, in some cases, allopatric host-parasite systems demonstrate similar or greater compatibility than in sympatry. In such cases, the potential for local adaptation remains unclear. Here, we study the interaction between Schistosoma and its vector snail Biomphalaria in which such discrepancy in local versus foreign compatibility phenotype has been reported. Herein, we aim at bridging this gap of knowledge by comparing life history traits (immune cellular response, host mortality, and parasite growth) and molecular responses in highly compatible sympatric and allopatric Schistosoma/Biomphalaria interactions originating from different geographic localities (Brazil, Venezuela and Burundi). We found that despite displaying similar prevalence phenotypes, sympatric schistosomes triggered a rapid immune suppression (dual-RNAseq analyses) in the snails within 24h post infection, whereas infection by allopatric schistosomes (regardless of the species) was associated with immune cell proliferation and triggered a non-specific generalized immune response after 96h. We observed that, sympatric schistosomes grow more rapidly. Finally, we identify miRNAs differentially expressed by Schistosoma mansoni that target host immune genes and could be responsible for hijacking the host immune response during the sympatric interaction. We show that despite having similar prevalence phenotypes, sympatric and allopatric snail-Schistosoma interactions displayed strong differences in their immunobiological molecular dialogue. Understanding the mechanisms allowing parasites to adapt rapidly and efficiently to new hosts is critical to control disease emergence and risks of Schistosomiasis outbreaks.