Korean J Parasitol.  2018 Apr;56(2):175-181. 10.3347/kjp.2018.56.2.175.

Genetic Diversity of Ascaris in China Assessed Using Simple Sequence Repeat Markers

  • 1School of Life Science, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, People's Republic of China. zhouchunhuajx@hotmail.com
  • 2College of Basic Medicine, Nanchang University, Nanchang 330031, People's Republic of China.
  • 3Nanchang Institute of Technology, Nanchang 330099, People's Republic of China.


The giant roundworm Ascaris infects pigs and people worldwide and causes serious diseases. The taxonomic relationship between Ascaris suum and Ascaris lumbricoides is still unclear. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the genetic diversity and population genetic structure of 258 Ascaris specimens from humans and pigs from 6 sympatric regions in Ascaris-endemic regions of China using existing simple sequence repeat data. The microsatellite markers showed a high level of allelic richness and genetic diversity in the samples. Each of the populations demonstrated excess homozygosity (Ho < He, Fis > 0). According to a genetic differentiation index (Fst=0.0593), there was a high-level of gene flow in the Ascaris populations. A hierarchical analysis on molecular variance revealed remarkably high levels of variation within the populations. Moreover, a population structure analysis indicated that Ascaris populations fell into 3 main genetic clusters, interpreted as A. suum, A. lumbricoides, and a hybrid of the species. We speculated that humans can be infected with A. lumbricoides, A. suum, and the hybrid, but pigs were mainly infected with A. suum. This study provided new information on the genetic diversity and population structure of Ascaris from human and pigs in China, which can be used for designing Ascaris control strategies. It can also be beneficial to understand the introgression of host affiliation.


Ascaris lumbricoides; A. suum; genetic diversity; structure; simple sequence repeat

MeSH Terms

Ascaris lumbricoides
Ascaris suum
Gene Flow
Genetic Structures
Genetic Variation*
Microsatellite Repeats*
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