The biology of plasmodium vivax explored through genomics

Zunping Luo, Steven A. Sullivan, Jane M. Carlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. Of the four Plasmodium species that routinely cause human malaria, Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread species outside Africa, causing ~18.9 million cases in 2012. P. vivax cannot be cultured continuously in vitro, which severely hampers research in nonendemic and endemic countries alike. Consequently, whole-genome sequencing has become an effective means to interrogate the biology of the P. vivax parasite. Our comparative genomic analysis of five P. vivax reference genomes and several whole-genome sequences of the closely related monkey malaria species P. cynomolgi has revealed an extraordinary level of genetic diversity and enabled characterization of novel multigene families and important single-copy genes. The generation of whole-genome sequences from multiple clinical isolates is also driving forward knowledge concerning the biology and evolution of the species. Understanding the biology of P. vivax is crucial to develop potential antimalarial drugs and vaccines and to achieve the goal of eliminating malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Genomics, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium cynomolgi
  • Malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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