Xu F, Jerlström-Hultqvist J, Andersson JO
Mol. Biol. Evol. 29 (10) 2895-2898 [2012-10-00; online 2012-04-02]
Giardia intestinalis is a major cause of waterborne enteric disease in humans. The species is divided into eight assemblages suggested to represent separate Giardia species based on host specificities and the genetic divergence of marker genes. We have investigated whether genome-wide recombination occurs between assemblages using the three available G. intestinalis genomes. First, the relative nonsynonymous substitution rates of the homologs were compared for 4,009 positional homologs. The vast majority of these comparisons indicate genetic isolation without interassemblage recombinations. Only a region of 6 kbp suggests genetic exchange between assemblages A and E, followed by gene conversion events. Second, recombination-detecting software fails to identify within-gene recombination between the different assemblages for most of the homologs. Our results indicate very low frequency of recombination between the syntenic core genes, suggesting that G. intestinalis assemblages are genetically isolated lineages and thus should be viewed as separated Giardia species.