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Microgeographic population genetic structure of Baylisascaris procyonis (Nematoda: Ascaroidae) in Western Michigan indicates the Grand River is a barrier to gene flow


Biomedical Sciences


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Medicine and Health Sciences


Baylisascaris procyonis, the raccoon roundworm, is increasingly being recognized for its zoonotic and public health importance. Fine-scale analyses of the population genetics of this species have been problematic due to a lack of appropriate genetic marker. We developed eight polymorphic microsatellites for B. procyonis, amplification of which in a sample of 74 worms collected from 10 raccoons in Western Michigan revealed significant population structure. Bayesian clustering indicates two subpopulations, one on either side of the Grand River, which bisects the region sampled. Estimates of FST, and results from AMOVA and isolation by distance, further corroborate a scenario whereby the river is acting as a barrier to gene flow, a rather unusual finding given the high vagility of raccoons and microgeographic scale (~500 km2) of the analysis. We describe one possible mechanism for how this pattern of structure could have become established.

Conference Name

Annual Meeting - American Society for Parasitologists

Conference Location

Omaha, NE

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