New paper published in Scientific Reports
The article identifies key genes that evolve under domestication, in the most important eukaryotic pathogen of humans. The study takes a prospective approach, analysing genome sequence changes during the early stages of culture adaptation of clinical isolates, and then examining sequences from a diverse range of previously culture-adapted lines to identify repeatedly affected genes. We were surprised to discover that culture-adaptation leads to selection of premature stop codon mutation alleles in specific genes. Long-term adapted strains of worldwide origin convergently acquired loss-of-function mutations in the same genes. The genes affected have predicted roles in transcriptional regulation and signal transduction. Understanding the adaptive processes should guide development of better experimental models for malaria parasites, improving the prospects of engineering parasites or their culture conditions to achieve desired replication or developmental phenotypes.
Read the full article here.