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New insights into the evolutionary history of Plasmodium falciparum from mitochondrial genome sequence analyses of Indian isolates.

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New insights into the evolutionary history of Plasmodium falciparum from mitochondrial genome sequence analyses of Indian isolates.

Mol Ecol. 2014 Jun;23(12):2975-87

Authors: Tyagi S, Pande V, Das A

Abstract
Estimating genetic diversity and inferring the evolutionary history of Plasmodium falciparum could be helpful in understanding origin and spread of virulent and drug-resistant forms of the malaria pathogen and therefore contribute to malaria control programme. Genetic diversity of the whole mitochondrial (mt) genome of P. falciparum sampled across the major distribution ranges had been reported, but no Indian P. falciparum isolate had been analysed so far, even though India is highly endemic to P. falciparum malaria. We have sequenced the whole mt genome of 44 Indian field isolates and utilized published data set of 96 genome sequences to present global genetic diversity and to revisit the evolutionary history of P. falciparum. Indian P. falciparum presents high genetic diversity with several characteristics of ancestral populations and shares many of the genetic features with African and to some extent Papua New Guinean (PNG) isolates. Similar to African isolates, Indian P. falciparum populations have maintained high effective population size and undergone rapid expansion in the past with oldest time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA). Interestingly, one of the four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that differentiates P. falciparum from P. falciparum-like isolates (infecting non-human primates in Africa) was found to be segregating in five Indian P. falciparum isolates. This SNP was in tight linkage with other two novel SNPs that were found exclusively in these five Indian isolates. The results on the mt genome sequence analyses of Indian isolates on the whole add to the current understanding on the evolutionary history of P. falciparum.

PMID: 24845521 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]