Atypical isolates of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans have been reported with increasing frequency. To investigate the origin of a set of atypical isolates and their relationship to typical isolates, we employed a combination of molecular phylogenetic and population genetic analyses using rDNA sequencing, PCR fingerprinting, and analysis of co-dominant DNA nucleotide polymorphisms to characterize the population structure of one typical and two atypical populations of C. albicans from Angola and Madagascar. The extent of clonality and recombination was assessed in each population. The analyses revealed that the structure of all three populations of C. albicans was predominantly clonal but, as in previous studies, there was also evidence for recombination. Allele frequencies differed significantly between the typical and the atypical populations, suggesting very low levels of gene flow between them. However, allele frequencies were quite similar in the two atypical C. albicans populations, suggesting that they are closely related. Phylogenetic analysis of partial sequences encoding the nuclear 26S rDNA demonstrated that all three populations belong to a single monophyletic group, which includes the type strain of C. albicans.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.