Morpho-biological diversity of Trypanosoma cruzi
has been known since Chagas' first works in 1909. Several further studies confirmed the morphological differences among the parasite strains, which were isolated from different reservoirs and vectors, as well as from human beings. In the early sixties, antigenic differences were found in the parasite strains from various sources. These differences, coupled to the observation of regional variations of the disease, led to the proposal of the term cruzi complex to designate the taxon T. cruzi
. Since then this protozoan has been typed in distinct biodemes, zymodemes and lineages which were consensually grouped into T. cruzi
I, T. cruzi
II and into non-grouped strains. T. cruzi
genotypic characterization, initially carried out by schizodeme analysis and more recently by various other techniques, has shown a great diversity of the parasite strains. In fact, T. cruzi
is formed by groups of heterogeneous sub-population, which present specific characteristics, including distinct histotropism. The interaction of the different infecting clones of the cruzi complex and the human host will determine the morbidity of the disease.