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Adv Parasitol. 2009;68:139-59. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(08)00606-4.

Tracking transmission of the zoonosis Toxoplasma gondii.

Author information

  • IICB, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Leeds Unioversity, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is a highly successful parasite that infects many host species and has colonised a wide range of habitats. Review of the parasite's life cycle demonstrates that it has become adapted to exploit multiple routes of transmission through a sexual cycle in the definitive host and asexually, through carnivory, and by vertical transmission. These alternative routes may operate synergistically to enhance transmission, but they might also provide a vehicle for selection leading to partitioning of strains in the environment. Genetic analysis has shown that parasite population structure varies globally. In South America, there is high strain diversity while in North America, Europe and Africa three clonal strain types predominate. This may imply a shift from sexual to asexual transmission. Mapping of the parasite genome has provided a wealth of markers for strain characterisation. Close genotyping of isolates gives evidence of multiple infection and recombination in natural populations and reveals differences in both the distribution and the phenotype of strains. More intensive epidemiological studies are now required to unravel the networks of transmission operating within defined habitats.

PMID:
19289193
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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