Four axenically cultured human Giardia lamblia isolates from Jerusalem (KC-1, 2, 3 and 4) and one from Bethesda (WB) were compared. Three distinct groups were defined by agglutination response to rabbit anti-G. lamblia sera viz. WB; KC-3; and KC-1, 2 and 4. The same major groups were identified by isoenzyme analysis using thin-layer starch-gel electrophoresis, each group differing from the others in three or more of five enzymes studied. In addition, a single enzyme difference distinguished KC-2 from KC-1 and 4. These findings reveal significant heterogeneity in G. lamblia isolates both from widely separated areas and within a single region. Immunoassays for diagnosis of giardiasis should take into account the differences between strains. Heterogeneity among G. lamblia strains may explain the variable clinical manifestations, host response and treatment efficacy characteristic of human giardiasis.