Population Structure of Candida albicans from Three Teaching Hospitals in Ghana

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Previous studies on Candida species in a clinical setting in Ghana have shown a prevalence of Candida albicans. Despite this, very little is known about the various strain types and their population genetic structure. In this study three microsatellite loci, CAI, CAIII and CAVI, were used to investigate the population genetic structure of C. albicans from clinical isolates in Ghana. In all, 240 clinically unrelated C. albicans isolates were recovered from patients reporting at three teaching hospitals. All the isolates were heterozygous for at least one of the three loci, except for one isolate, which was homozygous for all three loci. Sixty-seven unique alleles and 240 different genotypes were generated by the three polymorphic microsatellite loci, resulting in a very high discriminatory potential of approximately 0.98. There was no significant difference in allele frequencies from the small number of anatomical sites sampled, regardless of the host conditions although high genotypic diversities were observed among the isolates. There was evidence for clonal reproduction, including over-expression of observed heterozygotes across the populations. The populations deviated significantly from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and pair-wise genotypic linkage disequilibria comparisons across the three loci were significant, also suggesting a clonal population. The overall Wright FIS for the three loci was negative, and the overall FST value was not significantly different from zero for the three loci analyzed, indicating a clonal and homogeneous population across the three sampling locations from Ghana.

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