Why are there so many independent origins of artemisinin resistance in malaria parasites?

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Tim J C AndersonFrancois Nosten

Abstract

Multiple alleles at the kelch13 locus conferring artemisinin resistance (ART-R) are currently spreading through malaria parasite populations in Southeast Asia, providing a unique opportunity to directly observe an ongoing soft selective sweep, to investigate why resistance alleles have evolved multiple times and to determine fundamental population genetic parameters for Plasmodium. We sequenced the kelch13 gene (n=1,876), genotyped 75 flanking SNPs, and measured clearance rate (n=3,552) in parasite infections from Western Thailand (2001-2014). We describe 32 independent coding mutations: these included common mutations outside the kelch13 propeller region associated with significant reductions in clearance rate. Mutations were first observed in 2003 and rose to 90% by 2014, consistent with a selection coefficient of ~0.079. There was no change in diversity in flanking markers, but resistance allele diversity rose until 2012 and then dropped as one allele (C580Y) spread to high frequency. The rapid spread of C580Y suggests that the genomic signature may be considerably harder in the near future, and that retrospective studies may underestimate the complexity of selective sweeps. The frequency with which adaptive alleles arise is...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Alleles
Biological Markers
Biological Evolution
Genes
Genome
Malaria
Parasites
Plasmodium
Retrospective Studies
Artemisinine

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