Toxoplasma gondii comprises three clonal lineages: Correlation of parasite genotype with human disease

Daniel K. Howe, L. David Sibley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The population genetic structure of Toxoplasma gondii was determined by multilocus restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis at 6 loci in 106 independent isolates from humans and animals. Phylogenetic and statistical analyses indicated a highly unusual population structure consisting of 3 widespread clonal lineages. Extensively mixed genotypes were only apparent in 4 strains, which indicated that, while not separate species, sexual recombination between the 3 lineages is exceedingly rare in natural populations. T. gondii is a major cause of subclinical human infection and an important opportunistic pathogen that causes severe disease in immunocompromised patients. While strains from all 3 lineages were isolated from humans, the majority of human toxoplasmosis cases were associated with strains of a type II genotype. The correlation of specific clonal lineages with human toxoplasmosis has important implications for development of vaccines, drug treatments, and diagnostic protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1566
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume172
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1995

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