Associations between blood parasite infection and a microsatellite DNA allele in an Australian scincid lizard (Egernia stokesii)
We used blood samples from 175 individuals of the Australian lizard Egernia stokesii to determine infection status of three apicomplexan blood parasites from the genera Hemolivia, Schellackia, and Plasmodium and to determine genotypes at 12 microsatellite DNA loci. We found one significant association between genotype and infection status. For locus Est4, individuals carrying allele 159 had lower prevalence of infection with Hemolivia (14.3% of 28 lizards) than individuals that did not carry the allele (58.4% of 89 lizards). We interpret this as a linkage to a functional gene associated with parasite resistance. We found no evidence among seven lizard populations that the frequency of allele 159 was related to the population prevalence of Hemolivia infection and discuss several explanations of that pattern.
KeywordsMajor Histocompatibility Complex Infection Status Blood Parasite Major Histocompatibility Complex Allele Major Histocompatibility Complex Genotype
This research was funded by grants from the Australian Research Council. Dr. Cathy Smallridge helped in the identification of the blood parasites, and Phil Mayes, Aaron Fenner, and Gary Hallas also helped in the research. The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Flinders University Animal Welfare Committee in compliance with the Australian Code of Practice for the use of animals for scientific purposes.
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