In this review, the current status of genomic and proteomic research on Giardia is examined in terms of evolutionary biology, phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy. The review also describes how characterising genetic variation in Giardia from numerous hosts and endemic areas has provided a better understanding of life cycle patterns, transmission and the epidemiology of Giardia infections in humans, domestic animals and wildlife. Some progress has been made in relating genomic information to the phenotype of Giardia, and as a consequence, new information has been obtained on aspects of developmental biology and the host-parasite relationship. However, deficiencies remain in our understanding of pathogenesis and host specificity, highlighting the limitations of currently available genomic datasets.
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