Genotyping of human and animal isolates of Giardia intestinalis : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Microbiology at Massey University

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Massey University
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Giardia intestinalis is an important protozoan parasite that infects humans and animals. It has been suggested that cattle may be a major source of human Giardia infection so a dairy farming region of New Zealand was investigated. This thesis uses three molecular methods to genotype G. intestinalis isolates obtained from human and animal faecal specimens collected in the Waikato region of New Zealand, to determine if giardiasis is a zoonotic disease. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting techniques were initially assessed for their ability to genotype G. intestinalis isolates. "Clear cut" evidence of zoonosis could not be established by either method, due to a low sample number. To determine the stability of the G. intestinalis genome an axenic culture of G. intestinalis trophozoites was stressed with toxic levels of metronidazole and the survivors, following a number of passages, were examined using AFLP and RAPD analysis. The DNA fingerprints were compared to those of the original wild-type with the results being indicative of an unstable G. intestinalis genome. A third molecular method was employed, which amplifies a portion of the tandemly repeated ribosomal DNA (rDNA). Each cyst contains 512 head to tail tandem repeat copies of the rRNA gene made up of both conserved and variable regions. The use of nested primers increased the sensitivity and specificity of the PCR reaction allowing the amplification of a 505bp rDNA fragment. DNA sequence analysis and alignment of the amplified products facilitated the comparison of G. intestinalis isolates. The relationship of the sequence data was generated and displayed using Splitstree software indicating that zoonosis did occur.
Molecular aspects, Giardiasis, Giardia lamblia, Genetic aspects, DNA fingerprinting