Chapter 16 : Genome Diversity, Population Genetics, and Evolution of Malaria Parasites

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Malaria parasites infect an impressively broad range of vertebrate hosts, with over 100 species identified in mammals, reptiles, and birds. The majority of malaria parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes; human malaria parasites are transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes exclusively. The study of genome diversity and plasticity, particularly at chromosome ends, is a robust area of research within the malaria community. A class of polymorphisms contributing to genome diversity and plasticity is deletions and insertions (indels) of short repetitive DNA sequences, known as microsatellites (MS) or minisatellites depending on the size of the repeated unit. Gene copy number variation (CNV) is yet another factor contributing to genome diversity in malaria parasites. In CNV has been detected for many genes by using high-density microarray and/or real-time PCR. Malaria parasites have relatively high recombination rates compared with other organisms studied, such as humans and mice. The degree and extent of genome diversity is tightly linked to parasite origins and evolutionary history. Genome-wide polymorphic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can be applied to mapping genes or mutations that are associated with parasite phenotypes of interest. The genome is at least as diverse as that of , according to estimates of the nucleotide substitution rate. An understanding of the genome diversity of malaria parasites provides valuable insights into parasite evolution, population structure, dynamics of transmission, mechanisms of drug resistance, immune evasion, and parasite development.

Citation: Su X, Joy D. 2012. Genome Diversity, Population Genetics, and Evolution of Malaria Parasites, p 269-285. In Hacker J, Dobrindt U, Kurth R (ed), Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817213.ch16
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Cartoon of the life cycle, showing stages of DNA replication and genetic recombination. doi:10.1128/9781555817213.ch16f01

Citation: Su X, Joy D. 2012. Genome Diversity, Population Genetics, and Evolution of Malaria Parasites, p 269-285. In Hacker J, Dobrindt U, Kurth R (ed), Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817213.ch16
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Diversity generation, types of polymorphism, effects of genetic variation, and potential applications. doi:10.1128/9781555817213.ch16f02

Citation: Su X, Joy D. 2012. Genome Diversity, Population Genetics, and Evolution of Malaria Parasites, p 269-285. In Hacker J, Dobrindt U, Kurth R (ed), Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817213.ch16
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