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Trends Parasitol. 2009 Feb;25(2):93-100. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Variation in Giardia: towards a taxonomic revision of the genus.

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Australian Water Quality Centre, South Australian Water Corporation, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.


Taxonomic uncertainty has had a negative impact on our understanding of the epidemiology of Giardia infections, particularly the role of wild and domestic animals as sources of human infection. The lack of morphological criteria for species identification and the failure of cross-infection experiments to unequivocally determine host specificity have largely contributed to this uncertainty. However, over the past ten years, it has been possible not only to demonstrate extensive genetic heterogeneity among Giardia isolates from mammals but also to confirm levels of host specificity that were recognized by early taxonomists when they proposed a series of host-related species that we consider should now be re-established.

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