Molecular phylogeny of Besnoitia and the genetic relationships among Besnoitia of cattle, wildebeest and goats
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Knowledge on parasites of the genus Besnoitia is sparse, which are classified in the subfamily Toxoplasmatinae of the phylum Apicomplexa. This arrangement hypotheses that Besnoitia represents the sister group to species such as Toxoplasma gondii and Hammondia hammondi. In order to test this hypothesis, phylogenetic analyses of 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) from Besnoitia, Hammondia, Isospora, Frenkelia, Eimeria, Neospora, Sarcocystis and Toxoplasma were performed. The 18S rDNA of Besnoitia besnoiti, Besnoitia jellisoni and Eimeria alabamensis were amplified by PCR and sequenced. Phylogenetic analyses by parsimony and maximum-likelihood methods showed Besnoitia to be reproducibly the sister group to a clade containing Hammondia, Neospora and Toxoplasma. Furthermore, Besnoitia of cattle, wildebeest and goats had identical ITS1 rDNA sequences, which questions the use of the taxon Besnoitia caprae to describe the Besnoitia found in goats.