Giardia duodenalis (syn. Giardia lamblia and Giardia intestinalis) is a common intestinal parasite of humans and mammals worldwide. Assessing the zoonotic transmission of the infection requires molecular characterization as there is considerable genetic variation within G. duodenalis. To date eight major genetic groups (assemblages) have been identified, two of which (A and B) are found in both humans and animals, whereas the remaining six (C to H) are host-specific and do not infect humans. Sequence-based surveys of single loci have identified a number of genetic variants (genotypes) within assemblages A and B in animal species, some of which may have zoonotic potential. Multi-locus typing data, however, has shown that in most cases, animals do not share identical multi-locus types with humans. Furthermore, interpretation of genotyping data is complicated by the presence of multiple alleles that generate "double peaks" in sequencing files from PCR products, and by the potential exchange of genetic material among isolates, which may account for the non-concordance in the assignment of isolates to specific assemblages. Therefore, a better understanding of the genetics of this parasite is required to allow the design of more sensitive and variable subtyping tools, that in turn may help unravel the complex epidemiology of this infection. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd.