Genetic Diversity in Dermacentor andersoni Populations in Western Montana
Ticks have been made a top priority for analysis as disease vectors. Specifically the tick Dermacentor andersoni is a vector for Colorado Tick Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bovine Anaplasmosis, and Powassan Encephalitis. This study was designed to assist in the utilization of the current protocols for a West Nile Virus vector distribution map in Montana and apply these to develop a D. andersoni distribution map. Samples were collected from across western Montana, and the 16S mitochondrial DNA gene was amplified. Six tick populations were tested, and there were sixteen different haplotypes found. However, when comparing these haplotypes there was no statistically significant difference with respect to the haplotype frequencies found between the populations, as well as no significant difference between the genetic diversity of tick populations on either side of the Continental Divide. This leads to the conclusion that either the genetic marker used is not an informative indicator between tick populations within 300 kilometers of one another, or that these tick populations are panmictic and therefore are not genetically isolated within the tested area.