Improved subtyping affords better discrimination of Trichomonas gallinae strains and suggests hybrid lineages.


University of East Anglia, School of Biological Sciences, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom; Department of Zoology, King Saud University, College of Science, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: [Email]


Trichomonas gallinae is a protozoan pathogen that causes avian trichomonosis typically associated with columbids (canker) and birds of prey (frounce) that predate on them, and has recently emerged as an important cause of passerine disease. An archived panel of DNA from North American (USA) birds used initially to establish the ITS ribotypes was reanalysed using Iron hydrogenase (FeHyd) gene sequences to provide an alphanumeric subtyping scheme with improved resolution for strain discrimination. Thirteen novel subtypes of T. gallinae using FeHyd gene as the subtyping locus are described. Although the phylogenetic topologies derived from each single marker are complementary, they are not entirely congruent. This may reflect the complex genetic histories of the isolates analysed which appear to contain two major lineages and several that are hybrid. This new analysis consolidates much of the phylogenetic signal generated from the ITS ribotype and provides additional resolution for discrimination of T. gallinae strains. The single copy FeHyd gene provides higher resolution genotyping than ITS ribotype alone. It should be used where possible as an additional, single-marker subtyping tool for cultured isolates.



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