Our understanding of the composition of multi-clonal malarial infections and the epidemiological factors which shape their diversity remain poorly understood. Traditionally within-host diversity has been defined in terms of the multiplicity of infection (MOI) derived by PCR-based genotyping. Massively parallel, single molecule sequencing technologies now enable individual read counts to be derived on genome-wide datasets facilitating the development of new statistical approaches to describe within-host diversity. In this class of measures the F WS metric characterizes within-host diversity and its relationship to population level diversity. Utilizing P. falciparum field isolates from patients in West Africa we here explore the relationship between the traditional MOI and F WS approaches. F WS statistics were derived from read count data at 86,158 SNPs in 64 samples sequenced on the Illumina GA platform. MOI estimates were derived by PCR at the msp-1 and -2 loci. Significant correlations were observed between the two measures, particularly with the msp-1 locus (P = 5.92×10 -5). The F WS metric should be more robust than the PCR-based approach owing to reduced sensitivity to potential locus-specific artifacts. Furthermore the F WS metric captures information on a range of parameters which influence out-crossing risk including the number of clones (MOI), their relative proportions and genetic divergence. This approach should provide novel insights into the factors which correlate with, and shape within-host diversity. © 2012 Auburn et al.
Auburn, S., Campino, S., Miotto, O., Djimde, A. A., Zongo, I., Manske, M., … Kwiatkowski, D. P. (2012). Characterization of within-host plasmodium falciparum diversity using next-generation sequence data. PLoS ONE, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032891