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Use of Population Genetics to Assess the Ecology, Evolution, and Population Structure of Coccidioides
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  • Alternative Title:
    Emerg Infect Dis
  • Description:
    During the past 20 years, a general picture of the genetic diversity and population structure of Coccidioides, the causal agent of coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever), has emerged. The genus consists of 2 genetically diverse species, C. immitis and C. posadasii, each of which contains 1 or more distinct populations with limited gene flow. Genotypic data indicate that C. immitis is divided into 2 subpopulations (central and southern California populations) and C. posadasii is divided into 3 subpopulations (Arizona, Mexico, and Texas/South America populations). However, admixture within and among these populations and the current paucity of environmental isolates limit our understanding of the population genetics of Coccidioides. We assessed population structure of Coccidioides in Arizona by analyzing 495 clinical and environmental isolates. Our findings confirm the population structure as previously described and indicate a finer scale population structure in Arizona. Environmental isolates appear to have higher genetic diversity than isolates from human patients.

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