We sequenced and annotated the genomes of four P. vivax strains collected from disparate geographic locations, tripling the number of genome sequences available for this understudied parasite and providing the first genome-wide perspective of global variability in this species. We observe approximately twice as much SNP diversity among these isolates as we do among a comparable collection of isolates of P. falciparum, a malaria-causing parasite that results in higher mortality. This indicates a distinct history of global colonization and/or a more stable demographic history for P. vivax relative to P. falciparum, which is thought to have undergone a recent population bottleneck. The SNP diversity, as well as additional microsatellite and gene family variability, suggests a capacity for greater functional variation in the global population of P. vivax. These findings warrant a deeper survey of variation in P. vivax to equip disease interventions targeting the distinctive biology of this neglected but major pathogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas