Author(s): MasComa S, Bargues MD
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Abstract In Chagas disease, triatomine vectors are the main target for control measures because of the absence of effective drugs. The broad usefulness of nuclear rDNA and mtDNA sequences explains why triatomine studies using these markers have increased so pronouncedly in recent years. This indicates the appropriateness of an updated review about these molecular markers, concentrating on aspects useful for research on Chagas disease vectors. A comparative analysis is presented on the efficiency, weight of their different characteristics, limitations and problems of each of the different DNA markers in the light of the results obtained in studies on populations, hybrids, subspecies and species of the subfamily Triatominae. The use of a standardized composite haplotype code nomenclature for both nuclear rDNA and mtDNA markers is strongly encouraged to avoid difficulties in comparative studies. Triatomine aspects related to concerted evolution, microsatellites, minisatellites and insertions/deletions in nuclear rDNA and silent/non-silent mutations, pseudogenes and weaknesses of partial sequences in mtDNA are analysed. Introgression and hybrids, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA strengths, and compared evolutionary rates of nuclear rDNA and mtDNA in triatomines are discussed. Many conclusions are obtained thanks to the availability, for the first time in triatomines, of a complete sequence of a protein-coding mtDNA gene as ND1 from very numerous triatomine species covering from different populations of a species up to members belonging to different tribes. The evolutionary rates of each nuclear rDNA marker and mtDNA marker are analysed by comparison at subspecies level (intrapopulational, interpopulational, between morphs, and between subspecies) and species level (close and distant species of the same genus, species of different genera, and species of different tribes). Weaknesses of mtDNA for systematic-taxonomic purposes detected recently and newly in insects and triatomines, respectively, are discussed in detail. Emphasis is given to taxonomic units and biological entities presenting well-known problematics, both from the systematic-taxonomic and/or epidemiological-control points of view, as well as to molecular situations which can give rise to erroneous conclusions. All these aspects constitute the background on which the key question about the systematic concepts of species and subspecies in triatomines is focused. The global purpose is to facilitate future work on triatomines by highlighting present gaps, how better choice the appropriate markers, and marker aspects which should be taken into account. Key characteristics as alpha, CI and transformation rate matrices ought to be obtained and noted to get appropriate results and allow correct interpretations. The main aim is to offer a baseline for future fundamental research on triatomines and applied research on transmission, epidemiology and control measures related to Chagas disease vectors.
This article was published in Acta Trop
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology