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Free Content A new chronotype of Schistosoma mansoni: adaptive significance

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Objectives  To optimise host‐to‐host transmission, digenean trematodes (parasites) synchronize their cercarial emission patterns with the aquatic activities of their vertebrate hosts. Schistosoma mansoni has a strictly diurnal shedding pattern involving two circadian chronotypes: an early shedding pattern with a mean peak occurring at 11:00 h and a late pattern with a mean peak occurring at 16:00 h. We analysed the cercarial emergence pattern of three schistosome populations from Oman where S. mansoni is resurgent.

Methods  For each schistosome population, the cercarial emergence pattern was assessed hourly over several days. Because we identified a new chronotype hitherto unknown in S. mansoni, we undertook taxonomic characterisation based on egg morphology and mitochondrial DNA sequence (COX1).

Results  Taxonomic characterisation revealed that the three schistosome populations belong to the species S. mansoni. Hence, this is the first report of this species exhibiting a nocturnal chronotype, with the mean peak occurring at 20:00 h. We interpreted the new chronotype as being the result of a lateral transfer of S. mansoni from humans to Rattus rattus.

Conclusion  The cercarial emergence pattern of S. mansoni from Oman is circadian, exhibiting either a diurnal or a nocturnal phenotype.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  University Via Domitia, UMR 5244 CNRS-UPVD, Perpignan, France 2:  Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman 3:  University Via Domitia, UMR 5110 CNRS-UPVD, Perpignan, France 4:  Ministry of Health, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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