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Int J Parasitol. 2011 Jun;41(7):705-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

Population genetic analyses of Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine receptor transporter gene haplotypes reveal the evolutionary history of chloroquine-resistant malaria in India.

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Evolutionary Genomics and Bioinformatics Laboratory, Division of Genomics and Bioinformatics, National Institute of Malaria Research, Sector 8, Dwarka, New Delhi 110 077, India.


Inferring the origin and dispersal of the chloroquine-resistant (CQR) malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is of academic and public health importance. The Pfcrt gene of P. falciparum is widely known as the CQR gene and two major haplotypes of this gene (CVIET and SVMNT) occur widely across CQR-endemic regions of the globe. In India, studies to date of the Pfcrt gene have indicated the widespread prevalence of the SVMNT haplotype (prevalent in the South America and Papua New Guinea), whereas the CVIET haplotype, primarily found in southeast Asia, was not detected at a high frequency in India. This distribution pattern of the two most common CQR-Pfcrt haplotypes in India is quite surprising. Thus, in order to understand probable evolutionary and migration patterns of the CQR-Pfcrt haplotypes into India, we generated new sequence data of exon 2 of the Pfcrt gene and collected published information on the CQR-Pfcrt haplotype data from India, Papua New Guinea, southeast Asia and South America, and performed several population and evolutionary genetic analyses. Among several interesting findings, statistically significant longitudinal clines for the CVIET and SVMNT haplotypes (in opposite directions) in India, and the clustering of India and Papua New Guinea under the SVMNT-specific clade in the phylogenetic tree, are the two most remarkable aspects of the data. It also appears that both the SVMNT and CVIET haplotypes in India have migrated from southeast Asia. In particular, whereas the Indian CVIET haplotype has a southeast Asian origin, the SVMNT haplotype, prevalent in India, seems to have originated in Papua New Guinea and entered India through southeast Asia.

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