Fasciola hepatica from naturally infected sheep and cattle in Great Britain are diploid.

PMID 25990533


Diploid (2n = 2x = 20) and triploid (2n = 3x = 30) Fasciola hepatica have been reported in the UK, and in Asia diploid, triploid and mixoploid (2x/3x) Fasciola spp. exist but there is little information to indicate how common triploidy is, particularly in UK fluke. Here the ploidy of 565 adult F. hepatica from 66 naturally infected British sheep and 150 adult F. hepatica from 35 naturally infected British cattle was determined. All 715 of these parasites were diploid, based on observation of 10 bivalent chromosomes and sperm (n = 335) or, since triploids are aspermic, sperm alone (n = 380). This constitutes the first extensive analysis of the ploidy of F. hepatica field isolates from Great Britain and shows that most F. hepatica isolated from cattle and sheep are diploid and have the capacity to sexually reproduce. These data suggest that triploidy, and by extension parthenogenesis, is rare or non-existent in wild British F. hepatica populations. Given that F. hepatica is the only species of Fasciola present in Britain our results indicate that the parasite is predominantly diploid in areas where F. hepatica exists in isolation and suggests that triploidy may only originate in natural populations where co-infection of F. hepatica and its sister species Fasciola gigantica commonly occurs.