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1 June 2010 Genetic Variation in the Mitochondrial 16S rRNA Gene of the American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae)
Chantel N. Krakowetz, Shaun J. Dergousoff, Neil B. Chilton
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Genetic variation in the mitochondrial (mt) 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene was examined for the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Say, 1821). Nine different haplotypes were detected among 369 adult D. variabilis collected from four localities in Canada. There were eight variable nucleotide positions in the 404 bp sequence alignment. Individuals of haplotype 1 occurred at frequency of >75% at all localities. Five haplotypes were detected at only one of the four localities. High haplotype diversity and low nucleotide diversity, combined with significantly negative Fs values for ticks at three localities, suggest a recent population expansion. Genetic differences were found between populations at different localities, but a Mantel regression analysis revealed no association between genetic differences and geographical distances. There was also no association between tick haplotype and the prevalence of the bacterium, Rickettsia montanensis Weiss and Moulder, 1984, in D. variabilis among localities or on opposite sides of Blackstrap Lake (Saskatchewan). The 16S rDNA haplotypes from Canadian populations of D. variabilis formed a clade with those from the eastern and central U.S.A., to the exclusion of D. variabilis from geographically isolated populations in the western U.S.A. Although sample sizes for D. variabilis in the eastern U.S.A. are small, there may be genetic divergence between populations in Canada and those in the eastern U.S.A., which may have implications for studies on the pathogenic agents transmitted by D. variabilis to its hosts.

Chantel N. Krakowetz, Shaun J. Dergousoff, and Neil B. Chilton "Genetic Variation in the Mitochondrial 16S rRNA Gene of the American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae)," Journal of Vector Ecology 35(1), 163-173, (1 June 2010).
Received: 1 November 2009; Accepted: 1 February 2010; Published: 1 June 2010

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Dermacentor variabilis
genetic variation
mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene
population genetics
Rickettsia montanensis
single-strand conformation polymorphism
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