Genetic diversity of Biomphalaria pfeifferi, the intermediate host of Schistosoma mansoni in Shamva district, Zimbabwe: role on intestinal schistosomiasis transmission

12 Jun 2020
Masceline Jenipher Mutsaka-Makuvaza, Xiao-Nong Zhou, Cremance Tshuma, Eniola Abe, Justen Manasa, Tawanda Manyangadze, Fiona Allan, Nyasha Chin’ombe, Bonnie Webster & Nicholas Midzi

The fresh water snail Biomphalaria pfeifferi is the intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni, which causes human intestinal schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe. Despite the medical importance of this intermediate host, there are no current data on its molecular characterization in Zimbabwe. In 2016, human water contact sites were identified in four communities in Madziwa area, Shamva district, Zimbabwe. The survey sites were recorded and mapped using a global positioning system. A 655 bp region of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene was amplified in 70 B. pfeifferi snails. The sequence data were analysed to determine the relationships between the individual snails, their inter, intra population diversity and structure. Overall, four unique cox1 haplotypes, with a haplotype diversity of 0.608, were identified in the snails. One haplotype spanned across most of the sites. There was no clear geographical clustering of haplotypes. The mean diversity among the haplotypes was very low (0.009), while the net divergence among the collection sites ranged from 0.000 to 0.026. The diversity within and between the sites was 0.017 and 0.012 respectively. This data advances our knowledge of the understanding of the population structure of B. pfeifferi in Madziwa area, Zimbabwe, with the high occurrence of one haplotype indicating the possibility of a recent bottleneck followed by population expansion. The population genetic structure of B. pfeifferi snails described here has provided an opportunity to investigate the contribution of snail genetics to variation in disease burden; and development of control strategies that exploit genetic differences in susceptibility to parasites.