Within the coccidia, morphological features of the oocyst stage at the light microscope level have been used more than any other single characteristic to designate genus and species. The aim of this study was to conduct morphometric analysis on a range of Cryptosporidium spp. isolates and to compare morphological data between several genotypes of C. parvum and a second species C. canis, as well as a variation within a specific genotype (the human genotype), with genetic data at 2 unlinked loci (18S ribonucleic deoxyribonucleic acid and HSP 70) to evaluate the usefulness of morphometric data in delineating species within Cryptosporidium. Results indicate that morphology could not differentiate between oocysts from C. parvum genotypes and oocysts from C. canis, whereas genetic analysis clearly differentiated between the two. The small size of the Cryptosporidium spp. oocyst, combined with the very limited characters for analysis, suggests that more reliance should be placed on genetic differences, combined with biological variation, when delineating species within Cryptosporidium.
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