Artemisinin-based combination therapy for malaria has become widely available across Africa.
SERA gene sequences were newly determined from 11 primate Plasmodium species including two human parasites, P. ovale and P. malariae, and the evolutionary history of SERA genes was analyzed together with 7 known species.
Here, we investigate the phylogenies, haplotype networks, positive selection and genetic diversity among these parasite species by means of four genes. Human P. vivax and primate P. simium recently derived one from the other; at least two host transfers have occurred. Human P. malariae and primate P. brasilianum also have recently derived one from the other by lateral host transfer.
Approximately 3.2 billion people live in areas where malaria is endemic, and WHO estimates that 350 to 500 million malaria cases occur each year worldwide. This high prevalence, and the high frequency of international travel, creates significant risk for the exportation of malaria to countries where malaria is not endemic and for the introduction of malaria organisms into the blood supply.