Changes in malaria parasite drug resistance in an endemic population over a 25-year period with resulting genomic evidence of selection.
Nwakanma DC., Duffy CW., Amambua-Ngwa A., Oriero EC., Bojang KA., Pinder M., Drakeley CJ., Sutherland CJ., Milligan PJ., Macinnis B., Kwiatkowski DP., Clark TG., Greenwood BM., Conway DJ.
BACKGROUND: Analysis of genome-wide polymorphism in many organisms has potential to identify genes under recent selection. However, data on historical allele frequency changes are rarely available for direct confirmation. METHODS: We genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 4 Plasmodium falciparum drug resistance genes in 668 archived parasite-positive blood samples of a Gambian population between 1984 and 2008. This covered a period before antimalarial resistance was detected locally, through subsequent failure of multiple drugs until introduction of artemisinin combination therapy. We separately performed genome-wide sequence analysis of 52 clinical isolates from 2008 to prospect for loci under recent directional selection. RESULTS: Resistance alleles increased from very low frequencies, peaking in 2000 for chloroquine resistance-associated crt and mdr1 genes and at the end of the survey period for dhfr and dhps genes respectively associated with pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine resistance. Temporal changes fit a model incorporating likely selection coefficients over the period. Three of the drug resistance loci were in the top 4 regions under strong selection implicated by the genome-wide analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Genome-wide polymorphism analysis of an endemic population sample robustly identifies loci with detailed documentation of recent selection, demonstrating power to prospectively detect emerging drug resistance genes.