18S rRNA gene sequences and phylogenetic relationships of European hard-tick species (Acari: Ixodidae)
The complete 18S rRNA gene sequences of the following six European hard-tick species were obtained by direct PCR cycle sequencing and silver-staining methods: Rhipicephalus pusillus, Boophilus annulatus, Dermacentor marginatus, Hyalomma lusitanicum, Haemaphysalis punctata, and Ixodes ricinus. Differences observed in the sequence alignment of these six species together with the 18S rRNA gene sequences of 13 other hard-tick species demonstrate that this gene is a good marker for supraspecific differentiation as well as genus grouping among hard ticks. Phylogenetic analyses strongly support that Hyalomma species share a common ancestor with Rhipicephalinae and, consequently, Hyalomminae should no longer be considered an independent subfamily. However, no definitive conclusion could be reached to support or oppose the separation of the subfamilies Haemaphysalinae and Amblyomminae.
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