Ancylostoma caninum is a globally distributed canine parasitic nematode. To test whether positive selection, population structure, or both affect genetic variation at the candidate vaccine target Ancylostoma secreted protein 1 (asp-1), we have quantified the genetic variation in A. caninum at asp-1 and a mitochondrial gene, cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox-1), using the statistical population analysis tools found in the SNAP Workbench. The mitochondrial gene cox-1 exhibits moderate diversity within 2 North American samples, comparable to the level of variation observed in other parasitic nematodes. The protein coding portion for the C-terminal half of asp-1 shows similar levels of genetic variation in a Wake County, North Carolina, sample as cox-1. Standard tests of neutrality provide little formal evidence for selection acting on this locus, but haplotype networks for 2 of the exon regions have significantly different topologies, consistent with different evolutionary forces shaping variation at either end of a 1.3-kilobase stretch of sequence. Evidence for gene flow among geographically distinct samples suggests that the mobility of hosts of A. caninum is an important contributing factor to the population structure of the parasite.

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