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Mol Ecol. 1997 Aug;6(8):781-6.

Molecular markers reveal differentiation among isolates of Coccidioides immitis from California, Arizona and Texas.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Coccidioides immitis causes coccidioidomycosis, a fungal disease of both immuno-compromised and otherwise healthy people; it is capable of causing large epidemics and the disease is often refractory to chemotherapy. To quantify the magnitude of population differentiation and estimate levels of gene flow in C. immitis, multilocus genotypes were scored for 20-25 clinical isolates from each of Bakersfield (California), Tucson (Arizona), and San Antonio (Texas). The molecular markers used were PCR products with polymorphic restriction endonuclease sites, found and characterized in a previous study of the Tucson population. The data show very highly significant differences in allele frequencies between all three populations, and suggest very low levels of migration between populations. One isolate in the San Antonio sample was an outlier, showing the California-specific allele at all four of the loci distinguishing the two populations, and subsequent inquiries indicated that the infection had indeed been acquired in California. Thus, genetic information can be used to infer the geographical origin of a fungal infection.

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