Background: Although Plasmodium vivax contributes to almost half of all malaria cases outside Africa, it has been relatively neglected compared to the more deadly P. falciparum. It is known that P. vivax populations possess high genetic diversity, differing geographically potentially due to different vector species, host genetics and environmental factors. Results: We analysed the high-quality genomic data for 46 P. vivax isolates spanning 10 countries across 4 continents. Using population genetic methods we identified hotspots of selection pressure, including the previously reported MRP1 and DHPS genes, both putative drug resistance loci. Extra copies and deletions in the promoter region of another drug resistance candidate, MDR1 gene, and duplications in the Duffy binding protein gene (PvDBP) potentially involved in erythrocyte invasion, were also identified. For surveillance applications, continental-informative markers were found in putative drug resistance loci, and we show that organellar polymorphisms could classify P. vivax populations across continents and differentiate between Plasmodia spp. Conclusions: This study has shown that genomic diversity that lies within and between P. vivax populations can be used to elucidate potential drug resistance and invasion mechanisms, as well as facilitate the molecular barcoding of the parasite for surveillance applications.
Benavente, E. D., Ward, Z., Chan, W., Mohareb, F. R., Sutherland, C. J., Roper, C., … Clark, T. G. (2017). Genomic variation in Plasmodium vivax malaria reveals regions under selective pressure. PLoS ONE, 12(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177134