Genomic analyses of parasites can give insights into mechanisms of adaptation to different hosts. There are divergent genetic types of Plasmodium knowlesi infecting humans, now discovered to be associated with different macaque monkey reservoir host species. Sequence analysis reveals substantial genome-wide divergence between these types, although this is particularly high in some chromosomal regions.
Analysis of P. knowlesi will be undertaken by flow cytometric sorting from blood of macaque and human fresh isolates, and results of sequence analyses will enable design of genetic manipulation experiments to test for loci that are involved in host adaptation and potentially enhancing reproductive isolation.
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