The Impact of Antimalarial Resistance on the Genetic Structure of Plasmodium falciparum in the DRC

Robert Verity, Ozkan Aydemir, Nicholas F. Brazeau, Oliver J. Watson, Nicholas J. Hathaway, Melchior Kashamuka Mwandagalirwa, Patrick W. Marsh, Kyaw Thwai, Travis Fulton, Madeline Denton, Andrew P. Morgan, Jonathan B. Parr, Patrick K. Tumwebaze, Melissa Conrad, Philip J. Rosenthal, Deus S. Ishengoma, Jeremiah Ngondi, Julie Gutman, Modest Mulenga, Douglas E. Norris, William J. Moss, Benedicta A Mensah, James L Myers-Hansen, Anita Ghansah, Antoinette K Tshefu, Azra C. Ghani, Steven R. Meshnick, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Jonathan J. Juliano

Jun 10, 2019

Received Date: 31st May 19

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) harbors 11% of global malaria cases, yet little is known about the spatial and genetic structure of the parasite population in that country. We sequenced 2537 Plasmodiumfalciparum infections, including a nationally representative population sample from DRC and samples from surrounding countries, using molecular inversion probes - a novel high-throughput genotyping tool. We identified an east-west divide in haplotypes known to confer resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Furthermore, we identified highly related parasites over large geographic distances, indicative of gene flow and migration. Our results were consistent with a background of isolation by distance combined with the effects of selection for antimalarial drug resistance. This study provides a high-resolution view of parasite genetic structure across a large country in Africa and provides a baseline to study how implementation programs may impact parasite populations.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature