Abstract

Previous molecular genetic analyses indicate that Opisthorchis viverrini is a complex of at least 2 cryptic species in Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). Opisthorchis viverrini sensu lato (s.l.) populations can be divided into 6 genetic groups, which correlate with 5 different river wetlands systems. The present study examines the infectivity, growth, fecundity, and body size of O. viverrini s.l. isolates from these systems. Worm recovery was lowest in the Songkhram River, which differed significantly from all other wetland systems. In addition, the Chi River and Nam Ngum River populations also differed significantly. A similar pattern was found for fecundity. These results support the genetic/molecular data indicating a subdivision of O. viverrini populations on the basis of watershed and that propose the existence of cryptic species in Thailand and the Lao PDR.

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