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Diversity and distribution of Blastocystis sp. subtypes in non-human primates



Blastocystis SSU-rDNA sequence data from 317 captive and free-living non-human primates (NHPs) representing 30 genera of apes, Old and New World (OW and NW) monkeys and prosimians were analysed to investigate subtype (ST) and allele distribution among hosts. Excluding 20 mixed ST infections, 27% of the sequences belonged to ST1, 22% to ST2, 34% to ST3, 1% to ST4, 4% to ST5, 11% to ST8, <1% to ST13 and 1% to ST15. The study confirmed cryptic host specificity of ST1 and ST3; conversely, considerable overlap in ST2 alleles exists among humans and NHPs. Subtype distribution in humans and NHPs differs mainly in that ST4 is rarely reported in NHPs while ST5 and ST8 are both unusual in humans. This may be due to host specificity and/or the apparent geographically restricted range of some subtypes. While the distribution of ST1, ST2 and ST3 was independent of NHP group or geographical association, ST5 was seen only in apes and OW monkeys and ST8 primarily in arboreal NHPs and only in species native to Asia or South America.


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*Corresponding author: Department of Microbiology and Infection Control, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. E-mail:


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