Host switching of human lice to new world monkeys in South America

Drali, Rezak, Abi-Rached, Laurent, Boutellis, Amina, Djossou, Félix, Barker, Stephen C. and Raoult, Didier (2016) Host switching of human lice to new world monkeys in South America. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 39 225-231. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2016.02.008

Author Drali, Rezak
Abi-Rached, Laurent
Boutellis, Amina
Djossou, Félix
Barker, Stephen C.
Raoult, Didier
Title Host switching of human lice to new world monkeys in South America
Journal name Infection, Genetics and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1567-7257
Publication date 2016-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.meegid.2016.02.008
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 39
Start page 225
End page 231
Total pages 7
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The coevolution between a host and its obligate parasite is exemplified in the sucking lice that infest primates. In the context of close lice–host partnerships and cospeciation, Pediculus mjobergi, the louse of New World primates, has long been puzzling because its morphology resembles that of human lice. To investigate the possibility that P. mjobergi was transmitted to monkeys from the first humans who set foot on the American continent thousands of years ago, we obtained and compared P. mjobergi lice collected from howler monkeys from Argentina to human lice gathered from a remote and isolated village in Amazonia that has escaped globalization.

Morphological examinations were first conducted and verified the similarity between the monkey and human lice. The molecular characterization of several nuclear and mitochondrial genetic markers in the two types of lice revealed that one of the P. mjobergi specimens had a unique haplotype that clustered with the haplotypes of Amazonian head lice that are prevalent in tropical regions in the Americas, a natural habitat of New World monkeys. Because this phylogenetic group forms a separate branch within the clade of lice from humans that were of American origin, this finding indicates that human lice have transferred to New World monkeys.
Keyword Amazonian head louse
Pediculus mjobergi
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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