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Mitogenome organization and diversity of proteocephalid tapeworms (Cestoda) unveiled by genome skimming

Grant number: 23/00714-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2023
Effective date (End): June 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Fishery Resources and Fishery Engineering - Inland Water Fishery Resources
Principal Investigator:Reinaldo José da Silva
Grantee:Philippe Vieira Alves
Supervisor: Daniel Andrew Janies
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:21/12593-2 - Proteocephalids (Eucestoda: Onchoproteocephalidea) parasites of fishes from the Upper Parana Basin: diversity, phylogenetic relationships, and host-parasite associations, BP.PD


Animal diversification has intrigued evolutionary biologists over decades and is still a matter of intense debate. However, most of the discussions are related to free-living taxa. At the same time, life within other organisms, such as proteocephalid tapeworms (Eucestoda, Onchoproteocephalidea) that parasitize fish, has often been overlooked. Although proteocephalids represent the planet's largest radiation of bony fish tapeworms (particularly in South American catfishes), their evolution remains a mystery owing to the need for sufficient resolution in recent phylogenetic reconstructions. This proposal addresses that demand by subjecting ethanol-preserved specimens of proteocephalid tapeworms deposited in helminthological collections to high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques. Optimized molecular biology and bioinformatics protocols will reveal the mitogenome organization and sequence diversity of fish proteocephalids. Moreover, modern and comprehensive evolutionary analyses leveraging publicly available molecular sequences and data generated de novo will answer long-standing questions in proteocephalids evolution. Furthermore, this project will generate a methodological and conceptual framework to bridge the gap between the taxonomy of parasitic flatworms and the cutting-edge genomics and bioinformatics approaches. In that way, the methodology developed as a result of this proposal will add to the pool of resource-efficient molecular analyses that promise to make museum biorepositories more readily available to biomedical research. (AU)

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