Partner study description
In The Gambia, malaria transmission has substantially declined in the last 5-10 years and access to treatment is good. The relatively high drug pressure, reduced transmission and consequent waning of population immunity would increase opportunities for parasite inbreeding, possibly favouring the establishment of ART/ACT resistant parasite genotypes. Therefore, this setting offers a unique opportunity to understand the evolution of the natural variation of Plasmodium falciparum populations and the potential for the emergence of ART resistance. For this reason, we propose to characterize the P. falciparum genomic and phenotypic variations that occurred after the large-scale implementation of ACTs to identify novel genetic mechanisms of antimalarial drug resistance.
We will analyse patterns of genome-wide temporal SNP and microsatellite diversity to identify evolving genomic loci that have been involved in recent adaptations. To our knowledge, this will be the first attempt of retrospective genome scanning to identify genome-wide signatures of directional selection in a natural P. falciparum population following ACT implementation. The project proposes to analyse 540 P. falciparum specimens from archival and recent sampling.