Phylogenetic relationships were estimated among 12 species or variants of the genus Taenia, including all 3 species that typically use humans as the definitive host ( T. solium, T. saginata and T. asiatica), using published sequences of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and 28s ribosomal DNA. Analyses of all the data combined using maximum parsimony, neighbour-joining and maximum likelihood methods gave well resolved trees. The trees were similar regardless of the analytical method used. Most of the phylogenetically informative characters were contained in the COI sequence, and trees obtained from analyses of COI alone were similar to the combined data trees. All of the phylogeny estimates suggest that Taenia tapeworms have switched from carnivore definitive hosts to human definitive hosts twice in their history. This result was also supported by bootstrap analyses using all 3 of the above methods of phylogeny estimation.
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