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The diversity and evolutionary relationships of ticks and tick-borne bacteria in China

posted on 2022-05-12, 10:23 authored by Junhua Tian, Xin HouXin Hou, Mihong Ge, Hongbin Xu, Bin Yu, Jing Liu, Renfu Shao, Edward C Holmes, Chaoliang Lei, Mang ShiMang Shi
Phylogenetic tree of tick and tick-associated bacteria in this study. We collected more than 20,000 contemporary and historical (up to 60 years of preservation) tick samples representing a wide range of tick biodiversity across diverse geographic regions in China. Metagenomic sequencing was performed on individual ticks to obtain the complete or near-complete mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences from 46 tick species, among which mitochondrial genomes were revealed for the first time for 23 species. These new mt genomes data greatly expanded the diversity of many tick groups and revealed five cryptic species. Utilizing the same metagenomic sequence data we identified divergent and abundant bacteria in Haemaphysalis, Ixodes, Dermacentor and Carios ticks, including nine species of pathogenetic bacteria and potentially new species within the genus Borrelia. We also used these data to explore the evolutionary relationship between ticks and their associated bacteria, revealing a pattern of long-term co-divergence relationship between ticks and Rickettsia and Coxiella bacteria.


Shenzhen Science and Technology Program (KQTD20200820145822023)

Guangdong Province “Pearl River Talent Plan” Innovation and Entrepreneurship Team Project (2019ZT08Y464)

“Medical youth top talent project of Hubei” Fellowship and Science and Technology Project of Jiangxi (20142BBG70097)

Australian Research Council Australia Laureate Fellowship (FL170100022)