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Pneumocystis diversity as a phylogeographic tool

DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02762009000100017

Keywords: bats, co-evolution, ethology, host specificity, phylogeography, pneumocystis.

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parasites are increasingly used to complement the evolutionary and ecological adaptation history of their hosts. pneumocystis pathogenic fungi, which are transmitted from host-to-host via an airborne route, have been shown to constitute genuine host markers of evolution. these parasites can also provide valuable information about their host ecology. here, we suggest that parasites can be used as phylogeographic markers to understand the geographical distribution of intra-specific host genetic variants. to test our hypothesis, we characterised pneumocystis isolates from wild bats living in different areas. bats comprise a wide variety of species; some of them are able to migrate. thus, bat chorology and migration behaviour can be approached using pneumocystis as phylogeographic markers. in the present work, we find that the genetic polymorphisms of bat-derived pneumocystis are structured by host chorology. therefore, pneumocystis intra-specific genetic diversity may constitute a useful and relevant phylogeographic tool.


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