Genome-wide insights into adaptive hybridisation across the Schistosoma haematobium group in West and Central Africa

Toby Landeryou*, Muriel Rabone, Fiona Allan, Rosie Maddren, David Rollinson, Bonnie L. Webster, Louis Albert Tchuem-Tchuenté, Roy M. Anderson, Aidan M. Emery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Schistosomiasis remains a public health concern across sub-Saharan Africa; current control programmes rely on accurate mapping and high mass drug administration (MDA) coverage to attempt disease elimination. Inter-species hybridisation can occur between certain spe-cies, changing epidemiological dynamics within endemic regions, which has the potential to confound control interventions. The impact of hybridisation on disease dynamics is well illus-trated in areas of Cameroon where urogenital schistosomiasis, primarily due to Schisto-soma haematobium and hybrid infections, now predominate over intestinal schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma guineensis. Genetic markers have shown the ability to identify hybrids, however the underlying genomic architecture of divergence and introgression between these species has yet to be established. In this study, restriction site associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) was used on archived adult worms initially identified as; Schis-tosoma bovis (n = 4), S. haematobium (n = 9), S. guineensis (n = 3) and S. guineensis x S. haematobium hybrids (n = 4) from Mali, Senegal, Niger, São Tomé and Cameroon. Genome-wide evidence supports the existence of S. guineensis and S. haematobium hybrid populations across Cameroon. The hybridisation of S. guineensis x S. haematobium has not been demonstrated on the island of São Tomé, where all samples showed no introgres-sion with S. haematobium. Additionally, all S. haematobium isolates from Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon indicated signatures of genomic introgression from S. bovis. Adaptive loci across the S. haematobium group showed that voltage-gated calcium ion channels (Cav) could play a key role in the ability to increase the survivability of species, particularly in host sys-tems. Where admixture has occurred between S. guineensis and S. haematobium, the excess introgressive influx of tegumental (outer helminth body) and antigenic genes from S. haematobium has increased the adaptive response in hybrids, leading to increased hybrid population fitness and viability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0010088
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - 31 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics/therapeutic use
  • Calcium Channels/genetics
  • Cameroon/epidemiology
  • Chimera/genetics
  • DNA, Protozoan/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Praziquantel/therapeutic use
  • Schistosoma haematobium/classification
  • Schistosomiasis haematobia/drug therapy
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Waterborne Diseases/parasitology


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