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Effects of Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (sod1) Genotype and Genetic Background on Growth, Reproduction and Defense in Biomphalaria glabrata

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  • Resistance of the snail Biomphalaria glabrata to the trematode Schistosoma mansoni is correlated with allelic variation at copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (sod1). We tested whether there is a fitness cost associated with carrying the most resistant allele in three outbred laboratory populations of snails. These three populations were derived from the same base population, but differed in average resistance. Under controlled laboratory conditions we found no cost of carrying the most resistant allele in terms of fecundity, and a possible advantage in terms of growth and mortality. These results suggest that it might be possible to drive resistant alleles of sod1 into natural populations of the snail vector for the purpose of controlling transmission of S. mansoni. However, we did observe a strong effect of genetic background on the association between sod1 genotype and resistance. sod1 genotype explained substantial variance in resistance among individuals in the most resistant genetic background, but had little effect in the least resistant genetic background. Thus, epistatic interactions with other loci may be as important a consideration as costs of resistance in the use of sod1 for vector manipulation.
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  • Bonner KM, Bayne CJ, Larson MK, Blouin MS (2012) Effects of Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (sod1) Genotype and Genetic Background on Growth, Reproduction and Defense in Biomphalaria glabrata. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(6): e1701. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001701
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  • 6
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  • 6
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