Submitted to: Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 2010
Publication Date: January 15, 2011
Citation: Webb, K.M., Rosenthal, B.M. 2011. Next Generation sequencing of the Trichinella murrelli mitochondrial genome allows comprehensive comparison of its divergence from the principal agent of human trichinellosis, Trichinella spiralis. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 11(1):116-123.
Interpretive Summary: We employed novel methods to sequence, in its entirety, the mitochondrial genome of Trichinella murrelli. This was a technical achievement, and will help in assessing the genetic differences between this parasite (which infects many wildlife mammals in the United States) and Trichinella spiralis (for which it can be easily confused, but which poses a far greater threat to the safety of food because its larvae thrive in swine). This study established that the genomes of these two species are organized in very similar ways, but identified the particular differences between the two.
The mitochondrial genome’s non-recombinant mode of inheritance and relatively rapid rate of evolution has promoted its use as a marker for studying the biogeographic history and evolutionary interrelationships among many metazoan species. A modest portion of the mitochondrial genome has been defined for 12 species and genotypes of parasites in the genus Trichinella, but its adequacy in representing the mitochondrial genome as a whole remains unclear, as the complete coding sequence has been characterized only for Trichinella spiralis. Here, we sought to comprehensively describe the extent and nature of divergence between the mitochondrial genomes of T. spiralis (which poses the most appreciable zoonotic risk owing to its capacity to establish persistent infections in domestic pigs) and T. murrelli (which is the most prevalent species in North American wildlife hosts, but which poses relatively little risk to the safety of pork). We demonstrated next generation sequencing as a highly effective means to obtain previously unknown mitochondrial genome sequence.