Preliminary data on the genetic differentiation of Onchocerca volvulus in Africa (Nematoda: Filarioidea)

R Cianchi, M Karam, MC Henry, F Villani, S Kumlien, L Bullini

Research output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)peer-review


Data are reported on the genetic structure of three Onchocerca volvulus populations, respectively from Mali (savanna), Ivory Coast (forest), and Zaire (forest gallery in savanna). Electrophoretic analysis, carried out on 25 gene-enzyme systems, has shown a remarkable genetic heterogeneity existing within O.volvulus. Zaire and West Africa populations appear chiefly differentiated at Mdh-1 and 6Pgdh loci, their average Nei's genetic distance being 0.11. In West Africa Nei's D found between the savanna and forest samples is 0.04. The savanna population from Zaire is more similar to the savanna one from Mali (D = 0.09) than to the forest one from Ivory Coast (D = 0.13). This appears mainly due to the loci Ldh and Hbdh (possibly linked), some alleles of which seem to be selected for in forest populations (Ldh110, Hbdh108), while others in the savanna ones (Ldh100, Hbdh100). The hypothesis that the discrepant epidemiological patterns of human onchocerciasis are related to intrinsic differences in the parasite seems supported by the obtained data. The differences in allele frequencies found at the reported loci appear strong enough to allow biochemical identification of O. volvulus populations from different geographic regions and different habitats
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Tropica
Pages (from-to)341-351
Publication statusPublished - 1985


  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • Onchocerca
  • Genetics
  • Onchocerciasis
  • Helminthic diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Variation
  • Alleles
  • Isoenzymes
  • C“te d'Ivoire
  • Africa-West
  • Classification
  • Enzymology
  • Parasitology
  • Polymorphism
  • Congo-Kinshasa
  • Africa-Central


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