Intraspecific variability of natural populations of Phlebotomus sergenti, the main vector of Leishmania tropica

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ABSTRACT:

An intraspecific study of Phlebotomus sergenti was performed on populations from Turkey, Syria, Israel, and Uzbekistan by four different approaches: geometric morphometrics, RAPD analysis, internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequencing (nuclear marker), and cytochrome B sequencing (mitochondrial marker). In RAPD analysis, distinct clades were formed in accordance with the geographical origin of the specimens. There was no distinct grouping according to place of origin within the Turkish samples from various localities in south-eastern Anatolia, which suggests a gene flow between populations separated spatially by the Amanos mountains, a mountain range of a considerable altitude. The results of ITS2 rDNA sequencing complied with the previously published intraspecific division of P. sergenti into two branches, northeastern and southwestern. However, mtDNA haplotypes formed three lineages with specimens from Turkey and Israel, sharing a common clade. A previously postulated hypothesis about a complex of sibling species within P. sergenti is therefore questionable. Cytochrome B seems to be a more discriminative marker for intraspecific variability assessment.

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