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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2006 May-Jun;53(3):188-92.

Internal transcribed spacer dimorphism and diversity in Dientamoeba fragilis.

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National Public Health Service for Wales Aberystwyth, Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1ER, Wales, United Kingdom.


The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal RNA operon is frequently used for detecting sequence variation among closely related species as it is usually homogeneous within strains but evolves more rapidly than ribosomal RNA coding regions. We have studied this region in both genotypes of the human intestinal parasite Dientamoeba fragilis. In contrast to most organisms, we have identified extensive variation between copies of the sequence within the same strain. The ITS occurs in 2 major forms in each genotype but additional heterogeneity is also present within each form. The significance of this finding is unclear, but the only precedent for such variation is in the Apicomplexa, which have multiple dispersed ribosomal RNA operons in contrast to the tandem arrays found in most other eukaryotes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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