The evolution of primate malaria parasites: A study on the origin and diversification of Plasmodium in lemurs.

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Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 374 words

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Keywords Apicoplast genome; Mitochondrial genome; Plasmodium falciparum; Phylogenetic congruence; Plasmodium; Timing Highlights * Plasmodium lineages found in lemurs are a diverse monophyletic group. * Plasmodium in lemurs shares a common ancestor with primate parasites from Africa. * The combination of Apicoplast loci with the mtDNA yields robust phylogenies. * There could be co-speciation between Plasmodium parasites and their lemur hosts. * The Plasmodium falciparum clade may have originated with Homininae. Abstract Among the primate malaria parasites, those found in lemurs have been neglected. Here, six Plasmodium lineages were detected in 169 lemurs. Nearly complete mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA, [almost equal to]6Kb) and apicoplast loci ([almost equal to]6Kb) were obtained from these parasites and other Haemosporida species. Plasmodium spp. in lemurs are a diverse clade that shares a common ancestor with other primate parasites from continental Africa. Time-trees for the mtDNA were estimated under different scenarios, and the origin of the lemur clade coincides with the proposed time of their host species' most recent common ancestor (Lemuridae-Indriidae). A time tree with fewer taxa was estimated with mtDNA + Apicoplast loci. Those time estimates overlapped but were younger and had narrower credibility intervals than those from mtDNA alone. Importantly, the mtDNA + Apicoplast estimates that the clade including the most lethal malaria parasite in humans, Plasmodium falciparum, may have originated with Homininae (African apes). Finally, the phylogenetic congruence of the lemurs and their parasites was explored. A statistically significant scenario identified four cospeciation, two duplications, four transfer (host-switches), and zero loss events. Thus, the parasite species sampled in lemurs seem to be radiating with their hosts. Author Affiliation: (a) Biology Department/Institute of Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (iGEM), Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122-1801, USA (b) Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell, OH 43065, USA (c) Wildlife Biology Program, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA (d) Nature Research Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania * Corresponding author at: Biology Department/Institute of Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine (iGEM), Temple University (SERC - 645), 1925 N. 12th St., Philadelphia, PA 19122-1801, USA. Article History: Received 12 January 2022; Revised 10 May 2022; Accepted 12 May 2022 Byline: M. Andreína Pacheco (a), Randall E. Junge (b), Adithyan Menon (a), Jon McRoberts (c), Gediminas Valkiunas (d), Ananias A. Escalante [Ananias.Escalante@temple.edu] (a,*)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A708782315