Unravelling the evolution of the head lice and body lice of humans

Leo, Natalie P. and Barker, Stephen C. (2005) Unravelling the evolution of the head lice and body lice of humans. Parasitology Research, 98 1: 44-47. doi:10.1007/s00436-005-0013-y

Author Leo, Natalie P.
Barker, Stephen C.
Title Unravelling the evolution of the head lice and body lice of humans
Journal name Parasitology Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0932-0113
Publication date 2005-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00436-005-0013-y
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 98
Issue 1
Start page 44
End page 47
Total pages 4
Place of publication Berlin / Heidelberg
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract Recent studies of mitochondrial genes of the head and body lice of humans indicate that present-day lice comprise two lineages that diverged before the evolution of modern humans. To test if this was a locus-specific phenomenon, we studied two nuclear genes, elongation factor-1 alpha (EF-1 alpha) and small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssu rRNA). Our ssu rRNA phylogeny was concordant with the phylogenies from mitochondrial genes, but the EF-1 alpha phylogeny was not concordant either with the mitochondrial phylogenies or with the ssu rRNA phylogeny. So both nuclear (ssu rRNA) and mitochondrial data indicate that there are two lineages of lice: one lineage with head lice only (H-only lineage) the other lineage with head and body lice (H+B lineage). Thus, body lice apparently evolved from just one of the two main lineages of lice. However, the date of divergence and geographical origins of the two lineages are controversial. Kittler et al. (Curr Biol 13:1414-1417, 2003; Curr Biol 14:2309, 2004) proposed that these two lineages diverged 0.77 mya, whereas Reed et al. (PLoS Biol 2:e340, 2004) proposed that they diverged 1.18 mya and suggested that one of the lineages, the H-only lineage, evolved in the New World on Homo erectus. We discuss this hypothesis in light of our results from ssu rRNA.
Keyword Parasitology
Pediculus humanus capitis
Small subunit ribosomal RNA
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 20 Sep 2007, 05:04:06 EST