Genetic Diversity of Taenia solium and its Relation to Clinical Presentation of Cysticercosis. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this perspectives paper, we discuss fertilization strategies for Taenia saginata and Taenia saginata asiatica as well as heterogeneity in Taenia solium, the causative agent of human cysticercosis. Two different genotypes of T. solium (Asian and Afro/American) were confirmed by mitochondrial DNA analysis approximately two decades ago. Since then, outcrossings of the two genotypes have been identified in Madagascar where the two genotypes are distributed sympatrically. Outcrossings were confirmed by the presence of discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. Since multiple tapeworm infections are common in endemic areas, outcrossing events likely occur quite frequently. Therefore, mitochondrial DNA from T. solium specimens collected from humans and pigs in endemic areas should be analyzed. If variations are found between specimens, nuclear DNA analysis should be performed to confirm the presence of discordance between mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Additional outcrossings likely add complexity to understanding the existing genetic diversity. Serological surveys are also recommended since serodiagnostic glycoprotein can also differentiate between the two genotypes. Viable eggs from different genotypes or from hybrids of two different genotypes should be used for experimental infection of pigs or dogs in order to observe any pathological heterogeneity in cysticercosis development. Although genetic diversity of T. solium is expected to result in clinical heterogeneity of cysticercosis in humans and pigs, there is currently no evidence showing that this occurs. There are also no comparative experimental studies on this topic. Therefore, studies evaluating the link between parasite heterogeneity and clinical outcome are warranted.

published proceedings

  • Yale J Biol Med

author list (cited authors)

  • Ito, A., & Budke, C. M.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Ito, Akira||Budke, Christine M

publication date

  • June 2021