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ISME J. 2009 Apr;3(4):498-502. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2008.112. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Malassezia furfur fingerprints as possible markers for human phylogeography.

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Mycology Laboratory, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Malassezia furfur was the first species described within the cosmopolitan yeast genus Malassezia, which now comprises 13 species. Reported isolation rates of these species from healthy and diseased human skin show geographic variations. PCR-fingerprinting with the wild-type phage M13 primer (5'-GAGGGTGGCGGTTCT-3') was applied to investigate phylogeographic associations of M. furfur strains isolated from Scandinavians residing permanently in Greece, in comparison to clinical isolates from Greek, Bulgarian and Chinese native residents. Seven M. furfur strains from Scandinavians were compared with the Neotype strain (CBS1878), CBS global collection strains (n=10) and clinical isolates from Greece (n=4), Bulgaria (n=15) and China (n=6). Scandinavian, Greek and Bulgarian M. furfur strains mostly formed distinct group clusters, providing initial evidence for an association with the host's geographical origin and with the underlying skin condition. These initial data address the hypothesis that M. furfur could be a eukaryotic candidate eligible for phylogeographic studies.

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