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Molecular identification of Taenia hydatigena from domestic and free-living animals in Slovakia, Central Europe


Taenia hydatigena is a cosmopolitan tapeworm that uses canids or felines as definitive hosts, while the larval stage (metacestode), formerly referred to as cysticercus tenuicollis, infects a wide variety of intermediate hosts, in particular ruminants. In the present study, we used partial nucleotide sequences of the cox1 and nad1 genes of T. hydatigena from different animal species to analyse the intraspecies genetic diversity of this economically important parasite. Twenty-four samples of metacestodes or adults of T. hydatigena from infected sheep, chamois, roe deer, fallow deer, wild boar, and dogs from Slovakia were collected and further analysed. Several haplotypes of T. hydatigena were identified with unique mutations that have not been previously recorded in Slovakia. Analysis of nucleotide polymorphism revealed the existence of 9 and 13 haplotypes, with relatively low nucleotide pairwise divergence ranging between 0.3–1.3 and 0.2–1.8% for the Hcox and Hnad haplotypes, respectively. In general, low nucleotide and high haplotype diversities in the overall population of T. hydatigena from the study indicate a high number of closely related haplotypes within the explored population; nucleotide diversity per site was low for cox1 (Pi = 0.00540) and slightly higher for nad1 (Pi = 0.00898). A molecular study confirmed the existence of genetic variation within T. hydatigena isolates from Slovakia. However, further investigations with more samples collected from different intermediate and definitive hosts are required in order to investigate the epidemiological significance of the apparent genetic differences observed in this study.

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The study was supported by the Scientific Grant Agency VEGA, project No. 2/0107/20.

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Correspondence to Bronislava Víchová.

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The authors claim that all parasitological and genetic procedures contributing to this work are in accordance with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guides. Sheep samples were collected from slaughterhouses in Slovakia after the sheep were humanely slaughtered for meat. Free-living ruminants were legally hunted by hunters or found dead.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Jarošová, J., Antolová, D., Iglodyová, A. et al. Molecular identification of Taenia hydatigena from domestic and free-living animals in Slovakia, Central Europe. Parasitol Res 121, 1345–1354 (2022).

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  • Taenia hydatigena
  • Metacestode
  • Cysticercus tenuicollis
  • cox1
  • nad1
  • Slovakia