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      Molecular epidemiologic tools for waterborne pathogens Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis

      review-article

      a , * , b , *

      Food and Waterborne Parasitology

      Elsevier

      Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Molecular epidemiology, Genotyping

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          Abstract

          Molecular diagnostic tools have played an important role in improving our understanding of the transmission of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis, which are two of the most important waterborne parasites in industrialized nations. Genotyping tools are frequently used in the identification of host-adapted Cryptosporidium species and G. duodenalis assemblages, allowing the assessment of infection sources in humans and public health potential of parasites found in animals and the environment. In contrast, subtyping tools are more often used in case linkages, advanced tracking of infections sources, and assessment of disease burdens attributable to anthroponotic and zoonotic transmission. More recently, multilocus typing tools have been developed for population genetic characterizations of transmission dynamics and delineation of mechanisms for the emergence of virulent subtypes. With the recent development in next generation sequencing techniques, whole genome sequencing and comparative genomic analysis are increasingly used in characterizing Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis. The use of these tools in epidemiologic studies has identified significant differences in the transmission of Cryptosporidium spp. in humans between developing countries and industrialized nations, especially the role of zoonotic transmission in human infection. Geographic differences are also present in the distribution of G. duodenalis assemblages A and B in humans. In contrast, there is little evidence for widespread zoonotic transmission of giardiasis in both developing and industrialized countries. Differences in virulence have been identified among Cryptosporidium species and subtypes, and possibly between G. duodenalis assemblages A and B, and genetic recombination has been identified as one mechanism for the emergence of virulent C. hominis subtypes. These recent advances are providing insight into the epidemiology of waterborne protozoan parasites in both developing and developed countries.

          Highlights

          • Molecular tools are widely used to characterize isolates of Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

          • Methods differ in resolution capability, purpose, and technical complexity.

          • Molecular characterization has significantly improved knowledge of cryptosporidiosis epidemiology.

          • Cryptosporidium transmission is significantly different between developing and industrialized nations.

          • Improved molecular tools are needed to delineate Giardia duodenalis transmission in humans.

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          Most cited references 248

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          Zoonotic potential and molecular epidemiology of Giardia species and giardiasis.

          Molecular diagnostic tools have been used recently in assessing the taxonomy, zoonotic potential, and transmission of Giardia species and giardiasis in humans and animals. The results of these studies have firmly established giardiasis as a zoonotic disease, although host adaptation at the genotype and subtype levels has reduced the likelihood of zoonotic transmission. These studies have also identified variations in the distribution of Giardia duodenalis genotypes among geographic areas and between domestic and wild ruminants and differences in clinical manifestations and outbreak potentials of assemblages A and B. Nevertheless, our efforts in characterizing the molecular epidemiology of giardiasis and the roles of various animals in the transmission of human giardiasis are compromised by the lack of case-control and longitudinal cohort studies and the sampling and testing of humans and animals living in the same community, the frequent occurrence of infections with mixed genotypes and subtypes, and the apparent heterozygosity at some genetic loci for some G. duodenalis genotypes. With the increased usage of multilocus genotyping tools, the development of next-generation subtyping tools, the integration of molecular analysis in epidemiological studies, and an improved understanding of the population genetics of G. duodenalis in humans and animals, we should soon have a better appreciation of the molecular epidemiology of giardiasis, the disease burden of zoonotic transmission, the taxonomy status and virulences of various G. duodenalis genotypes, and the ecology of environmental contamination.
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            Genomic minimalism in the early diverging intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia.

            The genome of the eukaryotic protist Giardia lamblia, an important human intestinal parasite, is compact in structure and content, contains few introns or mitochondrial relics, and has simplified machinery for DNA replication, transcription, RNA processing, and most metabolic pathways. Protein kinases comprise the single largest protein class and reflect Giardia's requirement for a complex signal transduction network for coordinating differentiation. Lateral gene transfer from bacterial and archaeal donors has shaped Giardia's genome, and previously unknown gene families, for example, cysteine-rich structural proteins, have been discovered. Unexpectedly, the genome shows little evidence of heterozygosity, supporting recent speculations that this organism is sexual. This genome sequence will not only be valuable for investigating the evolution of eukaryotes, but will also be applied to the search for new therapeutics for this parasite.
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              Zoonotic potential of Giardia.

              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.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Food Waterborne Parasitol
                Food Waterborne Parasitol
                Food and Waterborne Parasitology
                Elsevier
                2405-6766
                29 September 2017
                Sep-Dec 2017
                29 September 2017
                : 8-9
                : 14-32
                Affiliations
                [a ]Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA
                [b ]College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
                Author notes
                Article
                S2405-6766(17)30008-2
                10.1016/j.fawpar.2017.09.002
                7034008

                This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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