Molecular analysis of mitochrondrial cytb of Pediculus humanus capitis in Thailand revealed potential historical connection with South Asia

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2021
Authors:K. Phadungsaksawasdi, Sunantaraporn, S., Seatamanoch, N., Kongdachalert, S., Phumee, A., Kraivichian, K., Sawaswong, V., Payungporn, S., Brownell, N., Siriyasatien, P.
Journal:PLoS One
Issue:9 (e0257024)
Pagination:19 pp
Date Published:Sep-07-2021
Type of Article:Open Access

Background Pediculus humanus capitis or head louse is an obligate ectoparasite and its infestation remains a major public health issue worldwide. Molecular analysis divides head lice into six clades and intra-clade genetic differences have been identified. Several hypotheses have been formulated to elucidate the discrepancies of the variety of head lice among different regions of the world. It is currently concluded that head lice distribution might be associated with human migration history. This study aims to investigate genetic data of human head lice in Thailand. We believe that the analysis could help establish the correlation between local and global head lice populations.

Method We investigated mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) gene of the collected 214 head lice to evaluate genetic diversity from 15 provinces among 6 regions of Thailand. The head lice genes were added to the global pool for the phylogenetic tree, Bayesian tree, Skyline plot, and median joining network construction. The biodiversity, neutrality tests, and population genetic differentiation among the 6 Thailand geographic regions were analyzed by DNAsp version 6.

Results The phylogenetic tree analysis of 214 collected head lice are of clade A and clade C accounting for roughly 65% and 35% respectively. The Bayesian tree revealed a correlation of clade diversification and ancient human dispersal timeline. In Thailand, clade A is widespread in the country. Clade C is confined to only the Central, Southern, and Northeastern regions. We identified 50 novel haplotypes. Statistical analysis showed congruent results between genetic differentiation and population migration especially with South Asia.

Conclusions Pediculosis remains problematic among children in the rural areas in Thailand. Cytb gene analysis of human head lice illustrated clade distribution and intra-clade diversity of different areas. Our study reported novel haplotypes of head lice in Thailand. Moreover, the statistic calculation provided a better understanding of their relationship with human, as an obligate human parasite and might help provide a better insight into the history of human population migration. Determination of the correlation between phylogenetic data and pediculicide resistance gene as well as residing bacteria are of interest for future studies.

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