Phylogeny of Triatomine Vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi Suggested by Mitochondrial DNA Sequences

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Abstract

The subfamily Triatominae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) comprises hematophagous insects, most of which are actual or potential vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan agent of Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis). DNA sequence comparisons of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes were used to infer phylogenetic relationships among 32 species of the subfamily Triatominae, 26 belonging to the genus Triatoma and six species of different genera. We analyzed mtDNA fragments of the 12S and 16S ribosomal RNA genes (totaling 848–851 bp) from each of the 32 species, as well as of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI, 1447 bp) gene from nine. The phylogenetic analyses unambiguously supported several clusters within the genus Triatoma. In the morphological classification, T. costalimai was placed tentatively within the infestans complex while T. guazu was not included in any Triatoma complex. The placement of these species in the molecular phylogeny indicated that both belong to the infestans complex. We confirmed with a strong support the inclusion of T. circummaculata, a member of a different complex based on morphology, within the infestans complex. On the other hand, the present phylogenetics analysis did not support the monophyly of the infestans complex species as it was suggested in our previous studies. While no strong inference of polyphyly of the genus Triatoma was provided by the bootstrap analyses, the other species belonging to Triatomini analyzed could not be distinguished from the species of Triatoma.

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