Subspecific Nomenclature of Giardia duodenalisIn the Light of a Compared Population Genomics of Pathogens
Abstract: Genetic and genomic data have long recognized that the species Giardia duodenalis is subdivided into at least eight genetic clusters that have been named “assemblages” by specialists in the field. Some of these assemblages have been given the status of species, with Linnean binames. In the framework of the predominant clonal evolution model (PCE), we have shown that, from an evolutionary point of view, G. duodenalis assemblages are equatable to “near-clades”, that is to say: clades whose discreteness is somewhat clouded by occasional genetic exchange, but remain discrete and stable in space and time. The implications of this evolutionary status for the species described within G. duodenalis are discussed in light of the most recent genetic and genomic studies. The pattern of this species’ subspecific genetic variability and genetic clustering appears to be very similar to the ones of various parasitic, fungal and bacteria species. This underlines the relevance of a compared population genomics of pathogenic species allowed by the broad framework of the PCE model.
Keywords: clonality; genetic recombination; parasite; speciation; taxonomy