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

Nygaard, Sanne
Braunstein, Alexander
Malsen, Gareth
Van Dongen, Stijn
Gardner, Paul P.
Krogh, Anders
Otto, Thomas D.
Pain, Arnab
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Published in PLOS Genetics. 2010, vol. 6, no. 9
Abstract Plasmodium parasites, the causal agents of malaria, result in more than 1 million deaths annually. Plasmodium are unicellular eukaryotes with small approximately 23 Mb genomes encoding approximately 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.
Keywords AnimalsConserved Sequence/geneticsGenes, Protozoan/geneticsGenome, Protozoan/*geneticsMalaria/*parasitologyOpen Reading Frames/geneticsParasites/*geneticsPhylogenyPlasmodium/*genetics*Selection, GeneticSpecies SpecificityTime Factors
PMID: 20838588
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Research group Population Genomics and Genetics of Complex Traits (892)
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NYGAARD, Sanne et al. Long- and short-term selective forces on malaria parasite genomes. In: PLOS Genetics, 2010, vol. 6, n° 9. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:20656

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Deposited on : 2012-05-22

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