Genomic epidemiology has guided research and policy for various viral pathogens and there has been a parallel effort towards using genomic epidemiology to combat diseases that are caused by eukaryotic pathogens, such as the malaria parasite. However, the central concept of viral genomic epidemiology, namely that of measurably mutating pathogens, does not apply easily to sexually recombining parasites. Here we introduce the related but different concept of measurably recombining malaria parasites to promote convergence around a unifying theoretical framework for malaria genomic epidemiology. Akin to viral phylodynamics, we anticipate that an inferential framework developed around recombination will help guide practical research and thus realize the full public health potential of genomic epidemiology for malaria parasites and other sexually recombining pathogens.
Keywords: Plasmodium; molecular epidemiology; pedigree; recombination.
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