• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of procbhomepageaboutsubmitalertseditorial board
Proc Biol Sci. Nov 22, 2000; 267(1459): 2345–2350.
PMCID: PMC1690816

Species concepts and malaria parasites: detecting a cryptic species of Plasmodium.

Abstract

Species of malaria parasite (phylum Apicomplexa: genus Plasmodium) have traditionally been described using the similarity species concept (based primarily on differences in morphological or life-history characteristics). The biological species concept (reproductive isolation) and phylogenetic species concept (based on monophyly) have not been used before in defining species of Plasmodium. Plasmodium azurophilum, described from Anolis lizards in the eastern Caribbean, is actually a two-species cryptic complex. The parasites were studied from eight islands, from Puerto Rico in the north to Grenada in the south. Morphology of the two species is very similar (differences are indistinguishable to the eye), but one infects only erythrocytes and the other only white blood cells. Molecular data for the cytochrome b gene reveal that the two forms are reproductively isolated; distinct haplotypes are present on each island and are never shared between the erythrocyte-infecting and leucocyte-infecting species. Each forms a monophyletic lineage indicating that they diverged before becoming established in the anoles of the eastern Caribbean. This comparison of the similarity, biological and phylogenetic species concepts for malaria parasites reveals the limited value of using only similarity measures in defining protozoan species.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (251K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Ayala SC. Lizard malaria in California; description of a strain of Plasmodium mexicanum, and biogeography of lizard malaria in western North America. J Parasitol. 1970 Jun;56(3):417–425. [PubMed]
  • Ayala SC, Hertz PE. Malaria infection in Anolis lizards on Martinique, Lesser Antilles. Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 1981 Jan-Feb;23(1):12–17. [PubMed]
  • Baker AJ, Daugherty CH, Colbourne R, McLennan JL. Flightless brown kiwis of New Zealand possess extremely subdivided population structure and cryptic species like small mammals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Aug 29;92(18):8254–8258. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Buckling AG, Taylor LH, Carlton JM, Read AF. Adaptive changes in Plasmodium transmission strategies following chloroquine chemotherapy. Proc Biol Sci. 1997 Apr 22;264(1381):553–559. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Carter R, Nijhout MM. Control of gamete formation (exflagellation) in malaria parasites. Science. 1977 Jan 28;195(4276):407–409. [PubMed]
  • Creasey AM, Ranford-Cartwright LC, Moore DJ, Williamson DH, Wilson RJ, Walliker D, Carter R. Uniparental inheritance of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b in Plasmodium falciparum. Curr Genet. 1993;23(4):360–364. [PubMed]
  • de Meeûs T, Michalakis Y, Renaud F. Santa rosalia revisited: or why are there so many kinds of parasites in ;the garden of earthly delights'? Parasitol Today. 1998 Jan;14(1):10–13. [PubMed]
  • Dye C. Population genetics of nonclonal, nonrandomly mating malaria parasites. Parasitol Today. 1991 Sep;7(9):236–240. [PubMed]
  • Eisen RJ, Schall JJ. Life history of a malaria parasite (Plasmodium mexicanum): independent traits and basis for variation. Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Apr 22;267(1445):793–799. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Escalante AA, Barrio E, Ayala FJ. Evolutionary origin of human and primate malarias: evidence from the circumsporozoite protein gene. Mol Biol Evol. 1995 Jul;12(4):616–626. [PubMed]
  • Escalante AA, Freeland DE, Collins WE, Lal AA. The evolution of primate malaria parasites based on the gene encoding cytochrome b from the linear mitochondrial genome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jul 7;95(14):8124–8129. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hung GC, Chilton NB, Beveridge I, Zhu XQ, Lichtenfels JR, Gasser RB. Molecular evidence for cryptic species within Cylicostephanus minutus (Nematoda: Strongylidae). Int J Parasitol. 1999 Feb;29(2):285–291. [PubMed]
  • Jordan HB. The occurrence and development of Plasmodium mexicanum in the western fence lizard Sceloporus occidentalis. J Protozool. 1970 Feb;17(1):86–89. [PubMed]
  • Kishino H, Hasegawa M. Evaluation of the maximum likelihood estimate of the evolutionary tree topologies from DNA sequence data, and the branching order in hominoidea. J Mol Evol. 1989 Aug;29(2):170–179. [PubMed]
  • Lounibos LP, Wilkerson RC, Conn JE, Hribar LJ, Fritz GN, Danoff-Burg JA. Morphological, molecular, and chromosomal discrimination of cryptic Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) (Diptera: Culicidae) from South America. J Med Entomol. 1998 Sep;35(5):830–838. [PubMed]
  • Lymbery AJ, Thompson RC. Species of Echinococcus: pattern and process. Parasitol Today. 1996 Dec;12(12):486–491. [PubMed]
  • Paul RE, Packer MJ, Walmsley M, Lagog M, Ranford-Cartwright LC, Paru R, Day KP. Mating patterns in malaria parasite populations of Papua New Guinea. Science. 1995 Sep 22;269(5231):1709–1711. [PubMed]
  • Posada D, Crandall KA. MODELTEST: testing the model of DNA substitution. Bioinformatics. 1998;14(9):817–818. [PubMed]
  • Purnomo, Solihin A, Gomez-Saladin E, Bangs MJ. Rare quadruple malaria infection in Irian Jaya Indonesia. J Parasitol. 1999 Jun;85(3):574–579. [PubMed]
  • Qari SH, Shi YP, Goldman IF, Udhayakumar V, Alpers MP, Collins WE, Lal AA. Identification of Plasmodium vivax-like human malaria parasite. Lancet. 1993 Mar 27;341(8848):780–783. [PubMed]
  • Richie TL. Interactions between malaria parasites infecting the same vertebrate host. Parasitology. 1988 Jun;96(Pt 3):607–639. [PubMed]
  • Staats CM, Schall JJ. Distribution and abundance of two malarial parasites of the endemic Anolis lizard of Saba Island, Netherlands Antilles. J Parasitol. 1996 Jun;82(3):409–413. [PubMed]
  • Sturmbauer C, Opadiya GB, Niederstätter H, Riedmann A, Dallinger R. Mitochondrial DNA reveals cryptic oligochaete species differing in cadmium resistance. Mol Biol Evol. 1999 Jul;16(7):967–974. [PubMed]
  • Tajima F, Nei M. Estimation of evolutionary distance between nucleotide sequences. Mol Biol Evol. 1984 Apr;1(3):269–285. [PubMed]
  • Tibayrenc M, Ayala FJ. Towards a population genetics of microorganisms: The clonal theory of parasitic protozoa. Parasitol Today. 1991 Sep;7(9):228–232. [PubMed]
  • Walliker D. The genetic basis of diversity in malaria parasites. Adv Parasitol. 1983;22:217–259. [PubMed]
  • Walliker D. Malaria parasites: Randomly interbreeding or 'clonal' populations? Parasitol Today. 1991 Sep;7(9):232–235. [PubMed]
  • White GB. Anopheles gambiae complex and disease transmission in Africa. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1974;68(4):278–301. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...