Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Identification of a novel assemblage G subgenotype and a zoonotic assemblage B in rodent isolates of Giardia duodenalis in the Canary Islands, Spain


The flagellated parasite Giardia duodenalis is known as one of the most common causes of protozoal diarrhoea in both humans and animals worldwide. The aim of the present work was to perform the first study of G. duodenalis in rodents in the Canary Islands (Spain) and analyse the level of genetic variation and the potential zoonotic role of the isolates. Stool samples were collected from 284 wild rodents and Giardia cysts were detected by light microscopy. The overall prevalence of giardiasis was 25·4% and ranged from 19·4% in El Hierro to 34% in Gran Canaria. Positive samples were further characterized by PCR and nucleotide sequencing of the triose phosphate isomerase (TPI), β-giardin (BG) and glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) genes. Our study revealed assemblage G as the most frequent genotype and identified two rodent-infecting G. duodenalis haplotypes of this assemblage, HI and HII. Phylogenetic analysis supported the monophyly of haplotype HI, which we suggest to be considered as a novel G. duodenalis sub-assemblage GII, due to the high genetic distances among this sub-genotype and assemblage G. Furthermore, G. duodenalis assemblage B was detected in an inhabited area in La Palma, a fact that may pose a potential risk of G. duodenalis transmission from rodents to humans.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna. Avda. Astrofísico Fco. Sánchez, s/n 38203 La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

C. F. L. Amar , P. H. Dear , S. Pedraza-Diaz , N. Looker , E. Linnane and J. McLauchlin (2002). Sensitive PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism assay for detection and genotyping of Giardia duodenalis in human feces. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 40, 446452. doi: 10.1128/JCM.40.2.446-452.2002.

A. Armson , R. Yang , J. Thompson , J. Johnson , S. Reid and U. M. Ryan (2009). Giardia genotypes in pigs in Western Australia: prevalence and association with diarrhea. Experimental Parasitology 121, 381383. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2009.01.008.

A. Bajer (2008). Between-year variation and spatial dynamics of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. infections in naturally infected rodent populations. Parasitology 135, 16291649. doi: 10.1017/S0031182008004952.

A. Bajer , M. Bednarska , A. Pawelczyk , J. M. Behnke , F. S. Gilbert and E. Sinski (2002). Prevalence and abundance of Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia spp. in wild rural rodents from the Mazury Lake District region of Poland. Parasitology 125, 2134. doi: 10.1017/S0031182002001865.

M. Bednarska , A. Bajer , E. Sinski , A. S. Girouard , L. Tamang and T. K. Graczyk (2007). Fluorescent in situ hybridization as a tool to retrospectively identify Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia in samples from terrestrial mammalian wildlife. Parasitology Research 100, 455460. doi: 10.1007/s00436-006-0276-y.

S. M. Cacciò and U. Ryan (2008). Molecular epidemiology of giardiasis. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 160, 7580. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2008.04.006.

S. M. Cacciò , M. De Giacomo and E. Pozio (2002). Sequence analysis of the beta-giardin gene and development of a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism assay to genotype Giardia duodenalis cysts from human faecal samples. International Journal for Parasitology 32, 10231030. doi: 10.1016/S0020-7519(02)00068-1.

J. A. Castro-Hermida , A. Almeida , M. Gonzalez-Warleta , J. M. Correia da Costa , C. Rumbo-Lorenzo and M. Mezo (2007). Occurrence of Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis in healthy adult domestic ruminants. Parasitology Research 101, 14431448. doi: 10.1007/s00436-007-0624-6.

T. Coklin , J. Farber , L. Parrington and B. Dixon (2007). Prevalence and molecular characterization of Giardia duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp. in dairy cattle in Ontario, Canada. Veterinary Parasitology 150, 297305. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.09.014.

C. Covacin , D. P. Aucoin , A. Elliot and R. C. Thompson (2011). Genotypic characterization of Giardia from domestic dogs in the USA. Veterinary Parasitology 177, 2832. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.11.029.

P. N. B. De Souza , T. C. B. Bomfim , F. Huber , L. C. S. Abboud and R. S. Gomes (2009). Natural infection by Cryptosporidium sp., Giardia sp. and Eimeria leuckarti in three groups of equines with different handlings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Veterinary Parasitology 160, 327333. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.103.

B. G. Dunlap and M. L. Thies (2002). Giardia in beaver (Castor canadensis) and nutria (Myocastor coypus) from east Texas. Journal of Parasitology 88, 12541258. doi: 10.1645/0022-3395(2002)088[1254:GIBCCA]2.0.CO;2.

R. Fayer , M. Santín , J. M. Trout , S. DeStefano , K. Koenen and T. Kaur (2006). Prevalence of Microsporidia, Cryptosporidium spp., and Giardia spp. in beavers (Castor canadensis) in Massachusetts. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 37, 492497. doi: 10.1638/06-013.1.

J. Felsenstein (1985). Confidence limits on phylogenies: an approach using the bootstrap. Evolution 39, 783791. doi: 10.2307/2408678.

P. Foronda , A. Del Castillo , N. Abreu , E. Figueruelo , J. Piñero and J. C. Casanova (2003). Parasitic helminths of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in different bioclimatic zones in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Journal of Helminthology 77, 305309. doi: 10.1079/JOH2003182.

P. Foronda , M. López-González , M. Hernández , V. Haukisalmi and C. Feliu (2011). Distribution and genetic variation of hymenolepidid cestodes in murid rodents on the Canary Islands (Spain). Parasites and Vectors 4, 185. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-4-185.

T. Gelanew , M. Lalle , A. Hailu , E. Pozio and S. M. Cacciò (2007). Molecular characterization of human isolates of Giardia duodenalis from Ethiopia. Acta Tropica 102, 9299. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2007.04.003.

M. Hasegawa , H. Kishino and T. Yano (1985). Dating of the human–ape splitting by a molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA. Journal of Molecular Evolution 22, 160174. doi: 10.1007/BF02101694.

T. Itagaki , S. Kinoshita , M. Aoki , N. Itoh , H. Saeki , N. Sato , J. Uetsuke , S. Izumiyama , K. Yagita and T. Endo (2005). Genotyping of Giardia intestinalis from domestic and wild animals in Japan using glutamate dehydrogenase gene sequencing. Veterinary Parasitology 133, 283287. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2005.05.061.

M. Kimura (1980). A simple method for estimating evolutionary rates of base substitutions through comparative studies of nucleotide sequences. Journal of Molecular Evolution 16, 111120. doi: 10.1007/BF01731581.

R. Kosuwin , C. Putaporntip , U. Pattanawong and S. Jongwutiwes (2010). Clonal diversity in Giardia duodenalis isolates from Thailand: evidences for intragenic recombination and purifying selection at the beta giardin locus. Gene 449, 18. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2009.09.010.

M. Lalle , E. Pozio , G. Capelli , F. Bruschi , D. Crotti and S. M. Cacciò (2005). Genetic heterogeneity at the β-giardin locus among human and animal isolates of Giardia duodenalis and identification of potentially zoonotic sub-genotypes. International Journal for Parasitology 35, 207213. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2004.10.022.

B. Levecke , P. Geldhof , E. Claerebout , P. Dorny , F. Vercammen , S. M. Cacciò , J. Vercruysse and T. Geurden (2009). Molecular characterisation of Giardia duodenalis in captive non-human primates reveals mixed assemblage A and B infections and novel polymorphisms. International Journal for Parasitology 39, 15951601. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.05.013.

B. Levecke , L. Meulemans , T. Dalemans , S. Casaert , E. Claerebout and T. Geurden (2011). Mixed Giardia duodenalis assemblage A, B, C and E infections in pet chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera) in Flanders (Belgium). Veterinary Parasitology 177, 166170.

C. Mendonça , A. Almeida , A. Castro , M. de Lurdes Delgado , S. Soares , J. M. da Costa and N. Canada (2007). Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium and Giardia isolates from cattle from Portugal. Veterinary Parasitology 147, 4750. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2007.03.019.

P. T. Monis , R. H. Andrews , G. Mayrhofer and P. L. Ey (2003). Genetic diversity within the morphological species Giardia intestinalis and its relationship to host origin. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 3, 2938. doi: 10.1016/S1567-1348(02)00149-1.

C. M. Read , P. T. Monis and R. C. Thompson (2004). Discrimination of all genotypes of Giardia duodenalis at the glutamate dehydrogenase locus using PCR-RFLP. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 4, 125130. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2004.02.001.

H. Sprong , S. M. Caccio and J. W. van der Giessen (2012). Identification of zoonotic genotypes of Giardia duodenalis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 3, e558. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000558.

K. Strimmer and A. Haeseler (1996). Quartet puzzling: a quartet maximum-likelihood method for reconstructing tree topologies. Molecular Biology and Evolution 13, 964969.

I. M. Sulaiman , R. Fayer , C. Bern , R. H. Gilman , J. M. Trout , P. M. Schantz , P. Das , A. A. Lal and L. Xiao (2003). Triosephosphate isomerase gene characterization and potential zoonotic transmission of Giardia duodenalis. Emerging Infectious Diseases 9, 14441452. doi: 10.3201/eid0911.030084.

K. Tamura , J. Dudley , M. Nei and S. Kumar (2007). MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24, 15961599. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm092.

R. C. A. Thompson , R. M. Hopkins and W. L. Homan (2000). Nomenclature and genetic groupings of Giardia infection in mammals. Parasitology Today 16, 210213. doi: 10.1016/S0169-4758(99)01624-5.

R. J. Traub , P. Monis , I. Robertson , P. Irwin , N. Mencke and R. C. Thompson (2004). Epidemiological and molecular evidence support the zoonotic transmission of Giardia among humans and dogs living in the same community. Parasitology 128, 5362. doi: 10.1017/S0031182003004505.

R. Traub , S. Wade , C. Read , A. Thompson and H. Mohammed (2005). Molecular characterization of potentially zoonotic isolates of Giardia duodenalis in horses. Veterinary Parasitology 130, 317321. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2005.02.011.

C. M. Wielinga and R. C. A. Thompson (2007). Comparative evaluation of Giardia duodenalis sequence data. Parasitology 134, 17951821. doi: 10.1017/S0031182007003071.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 18 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 146 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.