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Molecular phylogeny of Gyrodactylus (Monogenea) parasitizing fishes in fresh water, estuarine, and marine habitats in Canada

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Gyrodactylus Nordmann, 1832 is a genus of monogenean flatworms that is well-studied in Europe and best known for the destructive pathogen of Atlantic salmon, Gyrodactylus salaris Malmberg, 1957. However, there is a paucity of information on species of Gyrodactylus occurring elsewhere despite that the genus is thought to be extremely speciose. Here we present the first major molecular phylogeny of Gyrodactylus using samples from host fishes in North America. Our aims were to characterize species and molecular diversity of North American Gyrodactylus to allow a determination of their evolutionary relationship with congenerics sampled from Europe. Specimens belonging to 25 species of Gyrodactylus and closely related species from Canada and the northern United States of America were identified using morphology and sequenced at 18S rDNA and ITS2 rDNA (totaling ca. 1430 bp). Significant molecular groups in North American Gyrodactylus were found to correspond to a major division in the genus based on the structure of the male copulatory organ. Results corroborate earlier findings suggesting that the genus Fundulotrema Kritsky and Thatcher, 1977, traditionally thought to be distinct from Gyrodactylus owing to the presence of a peduncular bar, falls within Gyrodactylus. The usefulness and application of the broadly conserved 18S primers as a standard tool for Gyrodactylus taxonomy is discussed and advocated.

Keywords: 18S rDNA; ADNr 18S; Gyrodactylus; Gyrodactylus salaris; Monogenea; monogénéens; phylogeny; phylogénie

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z2012-040

Affiliations: 1: 7494 Andrea Crescent, Lantzville, BC V0R 2H0, Canada. 2: Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3, Canada. 3: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7, Canada. 4: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada.

Publication date: June 16, 2012

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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