Toxoplasma gondii has an unusual population structure consisting of three widely distributed clonal lineages. Acute virulence in mice is strictly observed in type I strains, indicating that a genetic determinant(s) unique to this lineage controls acute pathogenesis. We have analyzed several naturally occurring recombinant strains of T. gondii that carry allele 1 at the SAG1 locus; this allele is characteristic of the type I strains and was previously found to be 100% correlated with the acute virulence phenotype. Recombinant strains G622-M and ROD both bad a predominantly type III genotype, with the significant exception of allele 1 at the SAG1 locus. Although these two strains had virtually identical multilocus genotypes, they differed in their virulence in mice. Strain ROD was virulent whereas strain G622-M was nonvirulent, thus demonstrating that the presence of allele 1 at SAG1 is not alone sufficient to confer acute virulence. Several sequence polymorphisms upstream of SAG1 were found to be highly correlated with the acutely virulent lineages. Collectively, these results suggest that acute virulence is regulated by a region linked to the SAG1 locus on chromosome VIII in T. gondii.