Cyclospora cayetanensis, a protozoan of emerging concern, causes self-limiting gastroenteritis in immune-competent hosts. It has been established that sequence variability exists in the first internal transcribed spacer region (ITS-1) of the ribosomal DNA operon from collections of oocysts obtained from individual or pooled fecal samples. To determine if single oocysts also exhibited ITS-1 sequence variability, DNA was extracted from individually flow-cytometry–counted oocysts. We determined that ITS-1 sequence variability exists at an individual-genome level for C. cayetanensis and approached or exceeded the variability exhibited among oocyst collections. ITS-1 variability, at the genome level, reduces this region's utility for inferring relationships between strains.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5