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Strong genetic structure among populations of the tick Ixodes ricinus across its range

Abstract : Ixodes ricinus is the most common and widely distributed tick species in Europe, responsible for several zoonotic diseases, including Lyme borreliosis. Population genetics of disease vectors is a useful tool for understanding the spread of pathogens and infection risks. Despite the threat to the public health due to the climate-driven distribution changes of I. ricinus, the genetic structure of tick populations, though essential for understanding epidemiology, remains unclear. Previous studies have demonstrated weak to no apparent spatial pattern of genetic differentiation between European populations. Here, we analysed the population genetic structure of 497 individuals from 28 tick populations sampled from 20 countries across Europe, the Middle-East, and northern Africa. We analysed 125 SNPs loci after quality control. We ran Bayesian and multivariate hierarchical clustering analyses to identify and describe clusters of genetically related individuals. Both clustering methods support the identification of three spatially-structured clusters. Individuals from the south and north-western parts of Eurasia form a separated cluster from northern European populations, while central European populations are a mix between the two groups. Our findings have important implications for understanding the dispersal processes that shape the spread of zoonotic diseases under anthropogenic global changes.
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Contributor : Michel Leroux <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 3:32:48 PM
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Pedro Poli, Jonathan Lenoir, Olivier Plantard, Steffen Ehrmann, Knut Røed, et al.. Strong genetic structure among populations of the tick Ixodes ricinus across its range. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, 2020, 11 (6), pp.101509. ⟨10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101509⟩. ⟨hal-02917046⟩



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