Giardia Infections

  • Martin F. Heyworth
Part of the Infectious Agents and Pathogenesis book series (IAPA)


Protozoan parasites of the genus Giardia colonize the intestinal lumen of vertebrate hosts. Giardia species are flagellates that appear to be genetically primitive, despite the fact that they are morphologically specialized. This assertion is based on the fact that genes encoding small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU-rRNA) of Giardia organisms have considerable sequence homology with corresponding genes of bacteria.(1,2) In fact, among known eukaryotic SSU-rRNA gene sequences, those of Giardia organisms have the greatest homology with bacterial genes.(1) This observation suggests that Giardia species are evolutionarily ancient, and raises intriguing unanswered questions about their morphology and “life-style” during the period before vertebrate hosts had evolved. Available data suggest that the haploid genome of Giardia intestinalis is approximately 12 million base pairs in length.(3,4) As judged by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, different isolates of G. intestinalis have four to six chromosomes.(4–6)


Common Variable Immunodeficiency Giardia Lamblia Giardia Cyst Giardia Infection Great Blue Heron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin F. Heyworth
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office CenterFargoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

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