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Int J Parasitol. 2000 Jan;30(1):35-44.

Identification of six Trypanosoma cruzi phylogenetic lineages by random amplified polymorphic DNA and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis.

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  • 1Centre d'Etudes sur le Polymorphisme des Microorganismes (CEPM,) UMR No. 9926 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut de Recherche pour le DĂ©veloppement, IRD, 911 avenue Agropolis, BP 5045, 34 032, Montpellier, France.


Genetic characterisation of Trypanosoma cruzi variants is of foremost importance, due to considerable genetic and biological heterogeneity in the parasite populations. Two major phylogenetic lineages, each highly heterogeneous, have been previously described within this species. Here we characterised a geographically and ecologically diverse sample of stocks representative of the breadth of the known clonal diversity of each major lineage, using random amplified polymorphic DNA with 20 primers and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis at 22 loci. Molecular hybridisation experiments were performed to control the homology of randomly amplified DNA markers. Both sets of data were highly consistent and supported the existence of two major lineages. Additionally, we found that lineage 2 appeared further partitioned into five sharply delineated phylogenetic clusters, each comprising one of the following reference strains: CanIII cl1 (Z3 reference), M5631 cl5, Esmeraldo cl3 (Z2 reference), CL Brener, and MN cl2. The two first clusters were found mainly in sylvatic environments, whereas the three latter were restricted to domestic transmission cycles and were only collected South to the Amazon Basin. In contrast, lineage 1, which included Miles' Z1 reference strain X10 cl1, was not further subdivided and was encountered across the entire endemic area, in both domestic and sylvatic cycles. Thus, T. cruzi appeared to be subdivided into six discrete typing units, or DTUs, exhibiting distinct geographic and ecological ranges. Reliable diagnostic markers for the two major lineages and the five smaller DTUs of lineage 2 are described, and correspondence with previous classifications of T. cruzi genotypes is given in order to help communication on T. cruzi phylogenetic diversity.

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