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Genome-wide diversity and differentiation in New World populations of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax

Abstract : BACKGROUND: The Americas were the last continent colonized by humans carrying malaria parasites. Plasmodium falciparum from the New World shows very little genetic diversity and greater linkage disequilibrium, compared with its African counterparts, and is clearly subdivided into local, highly divergent populations. However, limited available data have revealed extensive genetic diversity in American populations of another major human malaria parasite, P. vivax. METHODS: We used an improved sample preparation strategy and next-generation sequencing to characterize 9 high-quality P. vivax genome sequences from northwestern Brazil. These new data were compared with publicly available sequences from recently sampled clinical P. vivax isolates from Brazil (BRA, total n = 11 sequences), Peru (PER, n = 23), Colombia (COL, n = 31), and Mexico (MEX, n = 19). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: We found that New World populations of P. vivax are as diverse (nucleotide diversity π between 5.2 × 10-4 and 6.2 × 10-4) as P. vivax populations from Southeast Asia, where malaria transmission is substantially more intense. They display several non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions (some of them previously undescribed) in genes known or suspected to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance, such as dhfr, dhps, mdr1, mrp1, and mrp-2, but not in the chloroquine resistance transporter ortholog (crt-o) gene. Moreover, P. vivax in the Americas is much less geographically substructured than local P. falciparum populations, with relatively little between-population genome-wide differentiation (pairwise FST values ranging between 0.025 and 0.092). Finally, P. vivax populations show a rapid decline in linkage disequilibrium with increasing distance between pairs of polymorphic sites, consistent with very frequent outcrossing. We hypothesize that the high diversity of present-day P. vivax lineages in the Americas originated from successive migratory waves and subsequent admixture between parasite lineages from geographically diverse sites. Further genome-wide analyses are required to test the demographic scenario suggested by our data.
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Thais de Oliveira, Priscila Rodrigues, Maria Menezes, Raquel Gonçalves-Lopes, Melissa Bastos, et al.. Genome-wide diversity and differentiation in New World populations of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2017, 11 (7), pp.e0005824. ⟨10.1371/journal.pntd.0005824⟩. ⟨pasteur-02046467⟩

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