Genetic variability of Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto in Europe inferred by mitochondrial DNA sequences

Adriano Casulli, Maria Interisano, Tamas Sreter, Lidia Chitimia, Zvezdelina Kirkova, Giuseppe La Rosa, Edoardo Pozio

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90 Citations (Scopus)


The genetic diversity of Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.) metacestodes from four European countries was evaluated by the DNA sequence analysis of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) mitochondrial gene. Of the 312 organisms investigated, 132 were from Bulgaria, 35 from Hungary, 89 from Italy and 56 from Romania. Considerable intraspecific variation was observed in the mitochondrial cox1 sequences: 24 haplotypes were detected in the Eastern European population and seven in the Italian population. The Eastern European population parsimony network displayed a star-like features consisting of the most common haplotype EG1 (G1 genotype) and the three major haplotypes: EG2, EG3 and EG4. The EG1 was also the major haplotype in the Italian population network, though with a higher prevalence (73%) compared to the Eastern European network. The percentage of the population constituted by the G1 genotype was used as an indirect index to evaluate the genetic diversity within E. granulosus s.s. populations of Eurasia. A clinal correlation between the percentage of the G1 genotype and the geographical regions of Eurasia was observed: the G1 genotype is highly represented in the Mediterranean Basin; it decreases in Eastern Europe and South-West Asia and increases in China. This clinal correlation could reflect the spreading of livestock domestication from Southern-Western Asia during the Neolithic period, beginning around 12,000. BC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2012


  • Echinococcus granulosus
  • Europe
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Population genetic structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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