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Genomic diversity of Plasmodium knowlesi.

Wild primates are now recognised as important reservoirs of malaria parasites that can infect humans. Diez Benavente et al. studied the macaque parasite Plasmodium knowlesi. They used a new high-quality reference genome to re-evaluate previously described subpopulations among human and macaque isolates from Malaysian-Borneo and Peninsular-Malaysia. Their analysis reveals genetic regions that have been recently exchanged between long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques, which contain genes with signals indicative of rapid contemporary ecological change, including deforestation. The image shows a long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), one of two simian hosts known to carry the zoonotic malaria parasite P. knowlesi in Malaysia. See Diez Benavente et al.

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Image Credit: Shankar S. (flickr; CC BY 2.0)