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Parasite. 2008 Sep;15(3):366-71.

Toxoplasma gondii, "new" genotypes and virulence.

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Faculty of Medicine, Parasitologie-Mycologie, EA3174, National Reference Center and Biological Resource Center for Toxoplasmosis, CHU Dupuytren, 2, av. Martin Luther King, F-87042 Limoges cedex, France.


Toxoplasma gondii has been described as a parasite with a low genetic diversity and a clonal population structure. The three main clonal lineages designated as type I, II or III largely predominate in Europe and North America. But strains not related to these main lineages circulate, notably, in other continents. They possess a shuffled combination of alleles that typify the three clonal types and unique polymorphisms detected by multilocus analysis. The population structure of Toxoplasma in these continents is also characterized by a higher genetic diversity associated with a lower linkage desequilibrium suggesting a role for genetic exchange. Due to their genomic diversity, it is difficult to draw global conclusions about their virulence. However, most of them are virulent in mice at isolation. Several reports also suggest a higher pathogenicity in humans and an association with ocular toxoplasmosis or severe cases of acquired toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent patients.

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