Parasite Genomics

Single-cell sequencing of malarial genomes

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Science  05 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6371, pp. 44-45
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6371.44-a

Single-cell sequencing of Plasmodium, here released from lysed red blood cells, allows for tracking of variation in the host.

PHOTO: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE SOURCE

Infection with the parasite Plasmodium falciparum causes malaria. Individuals may be infected with multiple strains of P. falciparum, some of which may be drug-resistant. Understanding the complexity of these infections may provide information about the diversity of the parasite population and aid in drug-targeting strategies. Overcoming the difficulties caused by AT bias in the Plasmodium genome, Trevino et al. optimized single-cell sequencing for late-stage P. falciparum parasites within infected individuals. From this analysis, they documented at least seven distinct parasitic haplotypes, traced meiotic events and hence relatedness among parasitic lineages, and found distinct single-nucleotide variants that could be used for bulk analysis.

Genome Biol. Evol. 10.1093/gbe/evx256 (2017).

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