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Article Dans Une Revue International Journal for Parasitology Année : 2020

The Leishmania donovani species complex: A new insight into taxonomy☆


Among the 20 or so Leishmania spp. described as pathogenic for humans, those of the Leishmania donovani complex are the exclusive causative agents of systemic and fatal visceral leishmaniasis. Although well studied, the complex is taxonomically controversial, which hampers clinical and epidemiological research. In this work, we analysed 56 Leishmania strains previously identified as L. donovani, Leishmania archibaldi or Leishmania infantum, isolated from humans, dogs and sandfly vectors throughout their distribution area. The strains were submitted to biochemical and genetic analyses and the resulting data were compared for congruence. Our results show: i) a partial concordance between biochemical and genetic-based data, ii) very limited genetic variability within the L. donovani complex, iii) footprints of frequent genetic exchange along an east-west gradient, marked by a widespread diffusion of alleles across the geographical range, and iv) a large-scale geographical spreading of a few genotypes. From a taxonomic point of view, considering the absence of relevant terminology in existing classes, the L. donovani complex could be treated as a single entity.


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Dates et versions

hal-03340965 , version 1 (10-09-2021)



Anna Fernández-Arévalo, Fouad El Baidouri, Christophe Ravel, Cristina Ballart, Alba Abras, et al.. The Leishmania donovani species complex: A new insight into taxonomy☆. International Journal for Parasitology, 2020, 50 (13), pp.1079-1088. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpara.2020.06.013⟩. ⟨hal-03340965⟩
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