Long- and short-term selective forces on malaria parasite genomes

Nygaard, S. et al. (2010) Long- and short-term selective forces on malaria parasite genomes. PLoS Genetics, 6(9), e1001099. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001099) (PMID:20838588) (PMCID:PMC2936524)

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Abstract

Plasmodium parasites, the causal agents of malaria, result in more than 1 million deaths annually. Plasmodium are unicellular eukaryotes with small ∼23 Mb genomes encoding ∼5200 protein-coding genes. The protein-coding genes comprise about half of these genomes. Although evolutionary processes have a significant impact on malaria control, the selective pressures within Plasmodium genomes are poorly understood, particularly in the non-protein-coding portion of the genome. We use evolutionary methods to describe selective processes in both the coding and non-coding regions of these genomes. Based on genome alignments of seven Plasmodium species, we show that protein-coding, intergenic and intronic regions are all subject to purifying selection and we identify 670 conserved non-genic elements. We then use genome-wide polymorphism data from P. falciparum to describe short-term selective processes in this species and identify some candidate genes for balancing (diversifying) selection. Our analyses suggest that there are many functional elements in the non-genic regions of these genomes and that adaptive evolution has occurred more frequently in the protein-coding regions of the genome.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Otto, Dr Thomas
Authors: Nygaard, S., Braunstein, A., Malsen, G., Van Dongen, S., Gardner, P. P., Krogh, A., Otto, T. D., Pain, A., Berriman, M., McAuliffe, J., Dermitzakis, E. T., and Jeffares, D. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:PLoS Genetics
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1553-7390
ISSN (Online):1553-7404
Copyright Holders:Copyright ©2010 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS Genetics 6(9):e1001099
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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