Elusive Plasmodium Species Complete the Human Malaria Genome Set
Rutledge G., Boehme U., Sanders M., Reid A., Maiga-Ascofare O., Djimde A., Apinjoh T., Amenga-Etego L., Manske M., Barnwell J., Renaud F., Ollomo B., Prugnolle F., Anstey N., Auburn S., Price R., McCarthy J., Kwiatkowski D., Newbold C., Berriman M., Otto T.
Despite the huge international endeavor to understand the genomic basis of malaria biology, there remains a lack of information about two human-infective species: Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale. The former is prevalent across all malaria endemic regions and able to recrudesce decades after the initial infection. The latter is a dormant stage hypnozoite-forming species, similar to P. vivax. Here we present the newly assembled reference genomes of both species, thereby completing the set of all human-infective Plasmodium species. We show that the P. malariae genome is markedly different to other Plasmodium genomes and relate this to its unique biology. Using additional draft genome assemblies, we confirm that P. ovale consists of two cryptic species that may have diverged millions of years ago. These genome sequences provide a useful resource to study the genetic basis of human-infectivity in Plasmodium species.