Small differences have been reported in the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) region among strains of Neospora caninum. We compared ITS1 sequences among 6 N. caninum strains analyzed in our laboratory, including 2 strains that have not been examined previously (NC-Illinois and NC-Bahia). Five sequences showed 100% similarity and also were identical to 7 of 11 sequences that were previously reported by others. In contrast, initial attempts to sequence the ITS1 of NC-Bahia generated 12 nucleotide differences compared with the other 5 strains, and several ambiguous bases. However, the single band containing the ITS1 region, as observed after electrophoresis on a 2% agarose gel, became divided into 2 distinct bands when reanalyzed using 5 or 10% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), and the ITS1 within these separate bands were sequenced without ambiguity. The other 5 N. caninum strains were also reexamined using PAGE, and in each strain 2 distinct bands were discovered. In comparison, 2 strains of Toxoplasma gondii continued to show only 1 band when examined using PAGE. The ITS1 sequence of NC-Bahia, from Brazil, differs in several base pairs from those of North American and European strains of N. caninum. Intrastrain variation of the ITS1 region appears to be common in N. caninum, in contrast to T. gondii.

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