The global diversity of Haemonchus contortus is shaped by human intervention and climate


Haemonchus contortus is a haematophagous parasitic nematode of veterinary interest. We have performed a survey of its genome-wide diversity using single-worm whole genome sequencing of 223 individuals sampled from 19 isolates spanning five continents. We find an African origin for the species, together with evidence for parasites spreading during the transatlantic slave trade and colonisation of Australia. Strong selective sweeps surrounding the β-tubulin locus, a target of benzimidazole anthelmintic drug, are identified in independent populations. These sweeps are further supported by signals of diversifying selection enriched in genes involved in response to drugs and other anthelmintic-associated biological functions. We also identify some candidate genes that may play a role in ivermectin resistance. Finally, genetic signatures of climate-driven adaptation are described, revealing a gene acting as an epigenetic regulator and components of the dauer pathway. These results begin to define genetic adaptation to climate in a parasitic nematode.

In Nat Commun 10:4811
James Cotton
James Cotton
Senior Staff Scientist

My research interests are in the genomics, and particularly population genomics of parasites, particularly those that cause neglected tropical diseases