The hard tick Ixodes ricinus is the principal vector of Lyme borreliosis (LB) group spirochaetes in Europe, but it also transmits a large number of other microbial pathogens that are of importance to animal and human health. Here, we characterise geographically distinct populations of this important ectoparasite based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of multiple mitochondrial (mt) genes (mtMLST). Internal fragments of approximately 500 bp were amplified and sequenced for 6 protein-encoding and ribosomal genes (atp6, coi, coii, coiii, cytB, and 12s). The samples analysed consisted of 506 questing nymphs collected in Britain and Latvia in 2006-2008 and in Latvia in 2002. Although little genetic structure has previously been observed in I. ricinus ticks among Europe, our data could clearly differentiate these 2 populations. Here, we argue that this novel scheme provides additional phylogenetic resolution which is important for understanding the genetic and geographic structure of I. ricinus populations. This in turn will benefit monitoring and management of tick-borne diseases.
Dinnis, R. E., Seelig, F., Bormane, A., Donaghy, M., Vollmer, S. A., Feil, E. J., Kurtenbach, K., & Margos, G. (2014). Multilocus sequence typing using mitochondrial genes (mtMLST) reveals geographic population structure of Ixodes ricinus ticks. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, 5(2), 152-160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2013.10.001