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Population genomics of a zoonotic disease host and its possible impact on the spread of the disease: the capybara case

Grant number: 15/08858-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): August 29, 2015
Effective date (End): November 06, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Pedro Manoel Galetti Junior
Grantee:Juan Pablo Torres Flores
Supervisor abroad: Paul A. Hohenlohe
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Idaho, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:13/23198-0 - Land-use modification and the possible impact on the functional connectivity and population structure of a zoonotic disease host: the capybara case in São Paulo State, BP.PD

Abstract

It has been pointed that land-use modification (e.g. habitat fragmentation) is one of the main causes of population connectivity loss (gene flow), species home ranges reduction, and therefore biodiversity loss. However, contrary to what was mentioned previously, different species take advantage of this land-use modification, expanding its home ranges and population sizes. These species populations' expansions can lead to economic problems associated with crops damaged (because generalist habits of these species), but also it has been associated with the emergence and expansion of harmful diseases to human health. Different approaches are used to identify possible pandemic sources, however because the spread of diseases is inherently a spatial process often embedded in complex landscapes it has been proposed the used of geographic information systems as an important tool to evaluate the possible routes of disease dispersion. In addition to the previous, the use of genetic tools in a landscape genetics perspective can elucidate the mechanisms that underlies the basic ecological processes that drives infectious disease dynamics and to understand the linkage between spatially dependent population processes and the geographic distribution of genetic variation within both: hosts and parasites. Thus, the genetic information of hosts and parasites coupled to their ecological interactions can lead to insights for predicting patterns of disease emergence, spread and control. Here we aim to i) use genomic tools to assess the genetic variation in capybara as the main host of the cayenne tick and therefore the vector of the Brazilian spotted fever (BSF) and, ii) elucidate if capybara population is genetically structure, and use that information as a proxy to parameterize ecological dynamics that indirectly influence parasite populations (gene flow and movement pathways across heterogeneous landscapes and the concurrent transport of the cayenne tick). Finally we aim to identify possible future directions in the management of capybara populations and its relationship with the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, with the aim to prevent the BSF dissemination.