Little is known about the emergence and spread of virulent subtypes of Cryptosporidium hominis, the predominant species responsible for human cryptosporidiosis. We conducted sequence analyses of 32 genetic loci of 53 C. hominis specimens isolated from a longitudinally followed cohort of children living in a small community. We identified by linkage disequilibrium and recombination analyses only limited genetic recombination, which occurred exclusively within the 60-kDa glycoprotein gene subtype IbA10G2, a predominant subtype for outbreaks in industrialized nations and a virulent subtype in the study community. Intensive transmission of virulent subtype IbA10G2 in the study area might have resulted in genetic recombination with other subtypes. Moreover, we identified selection for IbA10G2 at a 129-kb region around the 60-kDa glycoprotein gene in chromosome 6. These findings improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of C. hominis subtypes and the spread of virulent subtypes.
Keywords: Cryptosporidium hominis; cryptosporidiosis; genetic recombination; molecular epidemiology; parasites; population genetics; subtype; subtype IbA10G2; virulence.