The development of simple, sensitive and rapid methods for the detection and identification of Toxoplasma gondii is important for the diagnosis and epidemiological studies of the zoonotic disease toxoplasmosis. In the past 2 decades, molecular methods based on a variety of genetic markers have been developed, each with its advantages and limitations. The application of these methods has generated invaluable information to enhance our understanding of the epidemiology, population genetics and phylogeny of T. gondii. However, since most studies focused solely on the detection but not genetic characterization of T. gondii, the information obtained was limited. In this review, we discuss some widely used molecular methods and propose an integrated approach for the detection and identification of T. gondii, in order to generate maximum information for epidemiological, population and phylogenetic studies of this key pathogen.