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Genetic affinities of an eradicated European Plasmodium falciparum strain

de-Dios, T; van Dorp, L; Gelabert, P; Carøe, C; Sandoval-Velasco, M; Fregel, R; Escosa, R; ... Lalueza-Fox, C; + view all (2019) Genetic affinities of an eradicated European Plasmodium falciparum strain. Microbial Genomics 10.1099/mgen.0.000289. Green open access

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Abstract

Malaria was present in most of Europe until the second half of the 20th century, when it was eradicated through a combination of increased surveillance and mosquito control strategies, together with cross-border and political collaboration. Despite the severe burden of malaria on human populations, it remains contentious how the disease arrived and spread in Europe. Here, we report a partial Plasmodium falciparum nuclear genome derived from a set of antique medical slides stained with the blood of malaria-infected patients from Spain’s Ebro Delta, dating to the 1940s. Our analyses of the genome of this now eradicated European P. falciparum strain confirms stronger phylogeographical affinity to present-day strains in circulation in central south Asia, rather than to those in Africa. This points to a longitudinal, rather than a latitudinal, spread of malaria into Europe. In addition, this genome displays two derived alleles in the pfmrp1 gene that have been associated with drug resistance. Whilst this could represent standing variation in the ancestral P. falciparum population, these mutations may also have arisen due to the selective pressure of quinine treatment, which was an anti-malarial drug already in use by the time the sample we sequenced was mounted on a slide.

Type: Article
Title: Genetic affinities of an eradicated European Plasmodium falciparum strain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1099/mgen.0.000289
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000289
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Ancient genomics, Plasmodium falciparum, drug resistance and malaria
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080758
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