Previous whole genome comparisons of Plasmodium falciparum populations have not included collections from the Indian subcontinent, even though two million Indians contract malaria and about 50,000 die from the disease every year. Stratification of global parasites has revealed spatial relatedness of parasite genotypes on different continents. Here, genomic analysis was further improved to obtain country-level resolution by removing var genes and intergenic regions from distance calculations. P. falciparum genomes from India were found to be most closely related to each other. Their nearest neighbors were from Bangladesh and Myanmar, followed by Thailand. Samples from the rest of Southeast Asia, Africa and South America were increasingly more distant, demonstrating a high-resolution genomic-geographic continuum. Such genome stratification approaches will help monitor variations of malaria parasites within South Asia and future changes in parasite populations that may arise from in-country and cross-border migrations.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Malaria; Molecular; Neighbors; Populations.
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