Inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR)-PCR technique was used to assess genetic variation and phylogenetic relationships between Lymnaea natalensis collected from Giza, Ismailia, Damietta, and Beheira governorates in Egypt and compared with lab-bred snail in addition to characterization of watercourses from these sites. Five ISSR primers generated 47 amplified bands, of which 63.63% showed high polymorphism. All tested primers detected the common band (approximately 455 bp) in all L. natalensis studied. Three bands (318, 782 and 2013 bp for primers HB8, HB12 and HB13, respectively) are characteristic for L. natalensis collected from Ismailia, El Behira and Damietta governorates, respectively. These markers were used to estimate genetic similarity among the varieties using Jaccard’s similarity coefficient. The similarity matrix was used to construct a dendrogram. The most abundant snails Physa acuta (56.0%) and the lowest abundant snails Planorbis planorbis, and Melanoides tuberculata (0.5) were found associated with L. natalensis in many governorates. Eichhornia crassipes is the only aquatic plant which grows and is found associated with L. natalensis in all canals of governorates. Also, dragon fly is the only macroinvertebrate collected from all canals, then shrimps and true bugs. Heavy metals were detected in water samples of all tested governorates with different significant differences. In conclusion, the present study used for the first time the ISSR PCR technique for studying genetic variations of L. natalensis snails in Egypt. L. natalensis snails can survive when associated with other snails, plants, and insects and can tolerate the heavy metals in water.
Key words: Lymnaea natalensis, inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR)-PCR, dendrogram, heavy metals, macroinvertebrates.
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