Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Recent studies on the epidemiologic pattern of taeniasis in Southeast Asia have indicated the existence of a third form of human , distinguishable from and . Originally termed Taiwan , and first described in Taiwanese aboriginals, this newly recognized taeniid is now generally referred to as Asian since it has since been recorded in a number of other Asian countries. Here we have used a genetic yardstick approach to determine whether the Asian should most appropriately be considered as a new, distinct species or as a subspecies, strain, or variant of , which previous studies have shown it closely resembles. Sequence variation in the 28S rRNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) genes of a range of taeniid cestodes and the COI and rDNA internal transcribed spacer I polymerase chain reaction (PCR) restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern differences in the Asian , and were used as markers of genetic identity. The PCR-RFLP approaches proved useful for rapid and unambiguous discrimination of Asian from the other two human species, whereas the mitochondrial and nuclear sequence comparisons indicate that the Asian is much more closely related to than recognized taeniid species are to each other. The results support earlier conclusions that the Asian is a genetically distinct entity but is closely related to , and suggest that its taxonomic classification as a subspecies or strain of is more appropriate than formal designation as a new species. The very close relationship between Asian and has public health implications in that the Asian form is unlikely to be an important cause of human cysticercosis because cysticercosis, if it occurs at all in humans, is an extremely rare phenomenon.


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