Two simian malaria parasite species, Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium cynomolgi, cause zoonotic infections in Southeast Asia, and they have therefore gained recognition among scientists and public health officials. Notwithstanding, these species and others including Plasmodium coatneyi have served for decades as sources of knowledge on the biology, genetics and evolution of Plasmodium, and the diverse ramifications and outcomes of malaria in their monkey hosts.
Malaria parasites are characterized by a complex life cycle that is accompanied by dynamic gene expression patterns. The factors and mechanisms that regulate gene expression in these parasites have been searched for even before the advent of next generation sequencing technologies. Functional genomics approaches have substantially boosted this area of research and have yielded significant insights into the interplay between epigenetic, transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms.