Population structure of Toxoplasma gondii: Clonal expansion driven by infrequent recombination and selective sweeps

L. David Sibley, James W. Ajioka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

170 Scopus citations

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is among the most successful parasites. It is capable of infecting all warm-blooded animals and causing opportunistic disease in humans. T. gondii has a striking clonal population structure consisting of three predominant lineages in North America and Europe. Clonality is associated with the recent emergence of a monomorphic version of Chr1a, which drove a selective genetic sweep within the past 10,000 years. Strains from South America diverged from those in North America some 1-2 mya; recently, however, the monomorphic Chr1a has extended into regions of South America, where it is also associated with clonality. The recent spread of a few dominant lineages has dramatically shaped the population structure of T. gondii and has resulted in most lineages sharing a highly pathogenic nature. Understanding the factors that have shaped the population structure of T. gondii has implications for the emergence and transmission of human pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-351
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual review of microbiology
Volume62
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2008

Keywords

  • Genetics
  • Global
  • Parasite
  • Transmission
  • Virulence

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