Mycol Res 2003 May;107(Pt 5):537-44
Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada.
Sequence analysis of the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS) was used to establish phylogenetic relationships among 23 isolates of Pythium insidiosum, the etiological agent of pythiosis in mammals. The isolates were divided into three distinct clades that exhibited significant geographic isolation. Clade I consisted of isolates from North, Central, and South America, while clade II contained isolates from Asia and Australia. Also present in clade II was an isolate from a patient in the USA, but the origin of the infection may have been in the Middle East. Clade III was comprised of isolates from Thailand and the USA. All 23 P. insidiosum isolates were more closely related to each other than to any other Pythium species in this study. Additionally, all Pythium isolates formed a clade separate from both outgroup species, Phytophthora megasperma and Lagenidium giganteum. The ITS sequence results tend to support the existence of geographic variants or cryptic speciation within P. insidiosum. The sequence information obtained also provides an abundance of data for applications in the diagnosis of pythiosis and identification of P. insidiosum from clinical samples.