Genomic analysis of Plasmodium vivax describes patterns of connectivity and putative drivers of adaptation in Ethiopia

Alebachew Messele Kebede, Edwin Sutanto, Hidayat Trimarsanto, Ernest Diez Benavente, Mariana Barnes, Richard D. Pearson, Sasha V. Siegel, Berhanu Erko, Ashenafi Assefa, Sisay Getachew, Abraham Aseffa, Beyene Petros, Eugenia Lo, Rezika Mohammed, Daniel Yilma, Angela Rumaseb, Francois Nosten, Rintis Noviyanti, Julian C. Rayner, Dominic P. KwiatkowskiRic N. Price, Lemu Golassa, Sarah Auburn

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Ethiopia has the greatest burden of Plasmodium vivax in Africa, but little is known about the epidemiological landscape of parasites across the country. We analysed the genomic diversity of 137 P. vivax isolates collected nine Ethiopian districts from 2012 to 2016. Signatures of selection were detected by cross-country comparisons with isolates from Thailand (n = 104) and Indonesia (n = 111), representing regions with low and high chloroquine resistance respectively. 26% (35/137) of Ethiopian infections were polyclonal, and 48.5% (17/35) of these comprised highly related clones (within-host identity-by-descent > 25%), indicating frequent co-transmission and superinfection. Parasite gene flow between districts could not be explained entirely by geographic distance, with economic and cultural factors hypothesised to have an impact on connectivity. Amplification of the duffy binding protein gene (pvdbp1) was prevalent across all districts (16–75%). Cross-population haplotype homozygosity revealed positive selection in a region proximal to the putative chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pvcrt-o). An S25P variant in amino acid transporter 1 (pvaat1), whose homologue has recently been implicated in P. falciparum chloroquine resistance evolution, was prevalent in Ethiopia (96%) but not Thailand or Indonesia (35–53%). The genomic architecture in Ethiopia highlights circulating variants of potential public health concern in an endemic setting with evidence of stable transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20788
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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