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Nat Commun. 2014;5:3346. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4346.

African origin of the malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
2
Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA.
3
Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.
4
1] Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA [2] Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
5
Unité Mixte Internationale 233 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and University of Montpellier 1, 34394 Montpellier, France.
6
1] Unité Mixte Internationale 233 Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and University of Montpellier 1, 34394 Montpellier, France [2] Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale, BP 1197 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
7
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
8
Department of Ecology and Management of Plant and Animal Resources, Faculty of Sciences, University of Kisangani, BP 2012 Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
9
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, IDA-Africa, Portland, Oregon 97204, USA.
10
1] Department of Anthropology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63130, USA [2] Wildlife Conservation Society, Congo Program, BP 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.
11
1] Wildlife Conservation Society, Congo Program, BP 14537 Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo [2] Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.
12
Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York 12222, USA.
13
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
14
Division of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QH, UK.
15
1] Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA [2].
16
Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.
17
1] Division of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QH, UK [2] Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego, California 92093, USA.
18
Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.
19
Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.
20
Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.
21
Infectious Disease Unit, Karolinska Institute, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm SE-17176, Sweden.
22
Public Health England Malaria Reference Laboratory, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK.
23
Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba Project, BP 2012 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
24
Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1QH, UK.
25
Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, San Francisco, California 94104, USA.
26
Ape Action Africa, BP 20072 Yaounde, Cameroon.
27
Limbe Wildlife Centre, PO Box 878 Limbe, Cameroon.
28
Institut de Recherches Médicales et d'Études des Plantes Médicinales Prévention du Sida au Cameroun, Centre de Recherche Médicale, BP 906 Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon.
29
1] Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK [2] Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.
30
Malaria Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.
31
Malaria Programme, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK.
32
1] Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK [2] Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.

Abstract

Plasmodium vivax is the leading cause of human malaria in Asia and Latin America but is absent from most of central Africa due to the near fixation of a mutation that inhibits the expression of its receptor, the Duffy antigen, on human erythrocytes. The emergence of this protective allele is not understood because P. vivax is believed to have originated in Asia. Here we show, using a non-invasive approach, that wild chimpanzees and gorillas throughout central Africa are endemically infected with parasites that are closely related to human P. vivax. Sequence analyses reveal that ape parasites lack host specificity and are much more diverse than human parasites, which form a monophyletic lineage within the ape parasite radiation. These findings indicate that human P. vivax is of African origin and likely selected for the Duffy-negative mutation. All extant human P. vivax parasites are derived from a single ancestor that escaped out of Africa.

PMID:
24557500
PMCID:
PMC4089193
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms4346
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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