Ancient hybridization and introgression of an invadolysin gene in schistosome parasites

04 Feb 2019
Platt RN, McDew-White M, Le Clec'h W, Chevalier FD, Allan F, Emery AM, Garba A, Hamidou A, Ame SM, Webster JP, Rollinson D, Webster BL, Anderson TJC

The parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality across sub-Saharan Africa. S. haematobium hybridizes with livestock schistosomes, including S. bovis, however the frequency, direction, age and genomic consequences of hybridization are unknown. We sequenced 96 S. haematobium exomes from Niger and the Zanzibar archipelago and found evidence of an ancient, introgression event between Nigerien S. haematobium and S. bovisoccurring 108-613 generations ago. Between 3.3-8.2% of Nigerien S. haematobium genomes are derived from S. bovis alleles, some of which show signatures of directional selection; the strongest signal spans a single gene in the invadolysin gene family, an M8 metalloprotease associated with parasitic life-history traits.