This study compared specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers and phylogenetic tree analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism using the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene in various Blastocystis populations. A phylogenetic tree was constructed using 12 restriction enzymes and a sample pool of 22 isolates, including 2 reference strains and Proteromonas lacertae as an outgroup. The analysis showed that the 22 isolates could be separated into 7 clusters. Four of the 7 clusters were mixed groups that comprised isolates from both humans and nonhuman hosts. The other 3 clusters contained isolates from humans or nonhuman hosts only. The phylogenetic analysis also showed that B. hominis isolates from geographical separated areas did not necessarily cluster in the genetically different groups. The results of genetic homology and phylogenetic tree analysis among Blastocystis isolates from humans and animals indicated that all isolates from animals appear to be B. hominis. Polymerase chain reaction amplifications using previously described and newly defined specific primers mirrored the clusters obtained by the phylogenetic tree analysis. Our results show that primer PCR can be used as a powerful tool for the typing of Blastocystis populations.
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