Molecular data supports monophyly of Triatoma dispar complex within genus Triatoma

Soledad Santillán-Guayasamín, Christian Barnabé, Ezequiel Magallón-Gastelum, Etienne Waleckx, César A. Yumiseva, Mario J. Grijalva, Anita G. Villacís, Simone Frédérique Brenière

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The genus Triatoma contains numerous species, principal or secondary vectors of Chagas disease, which have been included in the three main lineages of Triatomini tribe based on morphological and biogeographical characteristics: North American, South American, and T. dispar complex. The three members of the T. dispar complex are distributed in Ecuador. This complex has been scarcely studied through molecular approaches, and the taxonomic position of this complex is not confirmed. In this study, we explored the phylogenetic relationships within the genus Triatoma, including five species from North and Central America, six from South America, and the three species belonging to the T. dispar complex. Partial sequences of four mitochondrial genes (Cyt b, COII, 16S-rRNA, 12S-rRNA) and two nuclear genes (18S-rRNA, ITS2) were obtained from 74 specimens. Phylogenetic trees were built with concatenated and single sequences through maximum likelihood (ML), maximum parsimony (MP), and Bayesian methods. The trees built using concatenated sequences showed three main branches (clusters) highly supported by significant bootstrap values; the T. dispar complex appeared as a monophyletic group separate from species of North and Central American origin and South American origin. On the contrary, for each gene tree, the three main clusters were not always significantly supported, mostly because genetic information is dramatically reduced when a single gene is considered. Consequently, concatenation of genes gives relevant results and is highly recommended for further in-depth examination of the relationships of several species and complexes of triatomines that remain unresolved. Moreover, our current molecular data fully revealed the division of genus Triatoma into at least three main genetic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104429
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

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  • Chagas disease
  • Lineages
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • T. dispar complex
  • Triatoma


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