Hernan Lorenzi, The J. Craig Venter Institute
Asis Kahn, Washington University School of Medicine
Michael S. Behnke, Washington University School of Medicine
Sivaranjani Namasivayam, University of Georgia
Lakshmipuram S. Swapna, University of Toronto
Michalis Hadjithomas, The J. Craig Venter Institute
Svetlana Karamycheva, The J. Craig Venter Insitute
Deborah Pinney, University of PennsylvaniaFollow
Brian P. Brunk, University of PennsylvaniaFollow
James W. Ajioka, University of Cambridge
Daniel Ajzenberg, University Limoges
John C. Boothroyd, Stanford University
Jon P. Boyle, University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus
Marie Dardé, University Limoges
Marie A. Diaz-Miranda, University of Pennsylvania
Jitender P. Dubey, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Heather M. Fritz, Washington State University
Solange M. Gennari, University of São Paulo
Brian D. Gregory, University of PennsylvaniaFollow
Kami Kim, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jeroen PJ Saeij, University of California, Davis
Chunlei Su, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Michael W. White, University of South Florida
Xing-Quan Zhu, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Daniel K. Howe, University of Kentucky
Benjamin M. Rosenthal, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Michael E. Grigg, National Institutes of Health
John Parkinson, University of Toronto
Liang Liu, University of Georgia
Jessica C. Kissinger, University of Georgia
David S. Roos, University of PennsylvaniaFollow
L. D. Sibley, Washington State University

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Nature Communications






Toxoplasma gondii is among the most prevalent parasites worldwide, infecting many wild and domestic animals and causing zoonotic infections in humans. T. gondii differs substantially in its broad distribution from closely related parasites that typically have narrow, specialized host ranges. To elucidate the genetic basis for these differences, we compared the genomes of 62 globally distributed T. gondii isolates to several closely related coccidian parasites. Our findings reveal that tandem amplification and diversification of secretory pathogenesis determinants is the primary feature that distinguishes the closely related genomes of these biologically diverse parasites. We further show that the unusual population structure of T. gondii is characterized by clade-specific inheritance of large conserved haploblocks that are significantly enriched in tandemly clustered secretory pathogenesis determinants. The shared inheritance of these conserved haploblocks, which show a different ancestry than the genome as a whole, may thus influence transmission, host range and pathogenicity.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0). The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


comparative genomics, parasite genetics

Included in

Biology Commons



Date Posted: 25 August 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.