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This study examined Echinococcus spp. genotypes and genetic variants isolated from humans as well as domestic and wild animals from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau Area using the cox1 gene. All samples except the pika isolates were identified as the Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto. Sixteen different haplotypes with considerable intraspecific variation were detected and characterized in mitochondrial cox1 sequences. The parsimonious network of cox1 haplotypes showed star-like features, and the neutrality indexes computed via Tajima's D and Fu's Fs tests showed high negative values in E. granulosus s. s., indicating deviations from neutrality; the Fst values were low among the populations, implying that the populations were not genetically differentiated. The pika isolates were identified as E. multilocularis and E. shiquicus. Only one haplotype was recognized in the pika isolates. E. granulosus s. s. was the predominant species found in animals and humans, followed by E. multilocularis and E. shiquicus, with high genetic diversity circulating among the animals and humans in this area. Further studies are needed to cover many sample collection sites and larger numbers of pathogen isolates, which may reveal abundant strains and/or other haplotypes in the hydatid cysts infecting human and animal populations of the QTPA, China.
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