Parasite-susceptibility phenotypes of F1 Biomphalariaglabrata progeny derived from interbreeding Schistosomamansoni-resistant and -susceptible snails
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In an effort to investigate the 'flow' of parasite-resistance genes through laboratory snail populations, we determined the susceptibility of progeny snails from freely interbreeding parasite-susceptible and parasite-resistant parents. Five parental populations of Biomphalariaglabrata were used to generate the progeny snails. Three of them contained different proportions of Schistosomamansoni-susceptible albino snails (NMRI stock) and S. mansoni-resistant pigmented snails (BS-90), while single stock controls comprised the other two parental populations. F1 snails from each parental population were exposed to S. mansoni miracidia. Some of the progeny snails were exposed as juveniles, others as adults. According to Hardy–Weinberg principle predictions, the F1 generation from the three pigmented/albino parental populations displayed higher than expected numbers of pigmented (resistant) snails and lower than expected numbers of albino (susceptible) snails. Among the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg principle that were not met within these populations could include non-random mating, unequal fecundity, different hatching and survival rates of different genotypes, or other life-history differences between snail stocks. It is clear, though, that for these two laboratory snail stocks there is no fitness cost attached to genetic resistance to the parasite.
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