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Recent studies have reported the existence of a Trichuris species complex parasitizing primate. Nevertheless, the genetic and evolutionary relationship between Trichuris spp. parasitizing humans and Non-Human Primates (NHP) is poorly understood. The hypothesised existence of different species of Trichuris in primates opens the possibility to evaluate these primates as reservoir hosts of human trichuriasis and other putative new species of whipworms. In this paper, we carried out a morphological, biometrical and molecular study of Trichuris population parasitizing Macaca sylvanus from Spain based on traditional morpho-biometrical methods, PCA analysis and ribosomal (ITS2) and mitochondrial (cox1 and cob) DNA sequencing. Morphological results revealed that Trichuris sp. from M. sylvanus is Trichuris trichiura. Ribosomal datasets revealed that phylogenetic relationships of populations of Trichuris sp. from M. sylvanus were unresolved. The phylogeny inferred on mitochondrial datasets (partitioned and concatenated) revealed similar topologies; Thus, phylogenetic trees supported the existence of clear molecular differentiation between individuals of Trichuris sp. from M. sylvanus appearing in two different subclades. Based on morphological parameters, biometrical measurements, and molecular sequence analysis, we conclude that the whipworms isolated from M. sylvanus were T. trichiura. Further, the evolutionary relationship showed that these worms belonged to two genotypes within the T. trichiura lineage. Since T. trichiura is of public health importance, it is important to carry out further studies to improve the understanding of its hosts range, evolution and phylogeography.


Julia Rivero, Ángela María García-Sánchez, Antonio Zurita, Cristina Cutillas, Rocío Callejón. Trichuris trichiura isolated from Macaca sylvanus: morphological, biometrical, and molecular study. BMC veterinary research. 2020 Nov 17;16(1):445

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PMID: 33203430

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