The impact of antimalarial resistance on the genetic structure of Plasmodium falciparum in the DRC

Robert Verity, Ozkan Aydemir, Nicholas F. Brazeau, Oliver J. Watson, Nicholas J. Hathaway, Melchior Kashamuka Mwandagalirwa, Patrick W. Marsh, Kyaw Thwai, Travis Fulton, Madeline Denton, Andrew P. Morgan, Jonathan B. Parr, Patrick K. Tumwebaze, Melissa Conrad, Philip J. Rosenthal, Deus S. Ishengoma, Jeremiah Ngondi, Julie Gutman, Modest Mulenga, Douglas E. NorrisWilliam J. Moss, Benedicta A. Mensah, James L. Myers-Hansen, Anita Ghansah, Antoinette K. Tshefu, Azra C. Ghani, Steven R. Meshnick, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Jonathan J. Juliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) harbors 11% of global malaria cases, yet little is known about the spatial and genetic structure of the parasite population in that country. We sequence 2537 Plasmodium falciparum infections, including a nationally representative population sample from DRC and samples from surrounding countries, using molecular inversion probes - a high-throughput genotyping tool. We identify an east-west divide in haplotypes known to confer resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Furthermore, we identify highly related parasites over large geographic distances, indicative of gene flow and migration. Our results are consistent with a background of isolation by distance combined with the effects of selection for antimalarial drug resistance. This study provides a high-resolution view of parasite genetic structure across a large country in Africa and provides a baseline to study how implementation programs may impact parasite populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2107
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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