The reproductive mechanism of Giardia intestinalis
, considered one of the earliest divergent eukaryotes, has not been fully defined yet. Some evidence supports the hypothesis that Giardia
is an exclusively asexual organism with a clonal population structure. However, the high genetic variability, the variation in ploidy during its life cycle, the low heterozygosity and the existence of genes involved in the meiotic-like recombination pathway in the parasite's genome cast doubt on exclusively asexual nature of Giardia
. In this work, semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis was used to assess the transcription pattern of three meiosis-like-specific genes involved in homologues recombination: dmc1, hop1 and spo11. The mRNAs were amplified during the parasite's differentiation processes, encystation and excystation, and expression was found at each stage of its life cycle. A semiquantitative assessment also suggests that expression of some of the genes is regulated during encystation process.