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Coevolution of Cryptosporidium tyzzeri and the house mouse (Mus musculus)

Abstract

Two house mouse subspecies occur in Europe, eastern and northern Mus musculus musculus (Mmm) and western and southern Mus musculus domesticus (Mmd). A secondary hybrid zone occurs where their ranges meet, running from Scandinavia to the Black Sea. In this paper, we tested a hypothesis that the apicomplexan protozoan species Cryptosporidium tyzzeri has coevolved with the house mouse. More specifically, we assessed to what extent the evolution of this parasite mirrors divergence of the two subspecies. In order to test this hypothesis, we analysed sequence variation at five genes (ssrRNA, Cryptosporidium oocyst wall protein (COWP), thrombospondin-related adhesive protein of Cryptosporidium 1 (TRAP-C1), actin and gp60) in C. tyzzeri isolates from Mmd and Mmm sampled along a transect across the hybrid zone from the Czech Republic to Germany. Mmd samples were supplemented with mice from New Zealand. We found two distinct isolates of C. tyzzeri, each occurring exclusively in one of the mouse subspecies (C. tyzzeri-Mmm and C. tyzzeri-Mmd). In addition to genetic differentiation, oocysts of the C. tyzzeri-Mmd subtype (mean: 4.24

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