TERC3 - Tremplin-ERC

Evolutionary history and genetic adaptation of Plasmodium vivax – EVAD

Submission summary

Summary submitted at the ERC-Stg-2017:
Infectious diseases represent the second cause of death worldwide despite the remarkable advances in their management and in medical research during the 20th century. One reason is the periodic emergence of new infectious diseases in human populations. The bottleneck for an emergent disease to thrive in the new host is the pathogen`s potential for adaptation to the novel environmental conditions. Understanding and elucidating how these pathogens adapt to new environments is a major prerequisite for tackling the emergence of new infectious diseases.
We propose to generate a radically global understanding of how pathogens adapt to new environments, using Plasmodia as model system, by integrating cutting-edge knowledge and technology in the field of genomics, population genetics, informatics and evolution. The malaria agent Plasmodium vivax, albeit less malignant than Plasmodium falciparum, is responsible for severe and incapacitating clinical symptoms with significant effects on human health. P. vivax is an ideal model because during its evolutionary history it has emerged in different hosts (i.e. chimpanzees/gorillas) and repeatedly colonized new human populations. It has thus shown ability to successfully adapt to different environments.
The first AIM of this proposal is to study the “intertwined” host-pathogen evolutionary histories of humans and great apes and of the different P. vivax clades. The second AIM is to characterize the mechanisms involved in the adaptation of P. vivax clades to their respective hosts. The third AIM is to study a multigene family (vir-gene), as a tool to characterize the level of adaptation and of evolution of P. vivax to different environments (great apes, different human populations).
This study will increase our knowledge of how pathogens adapt to new hosts, which is a prerequisite to understand and tackle emerging infectious diseases.

Project coordination

Virginie Rougeron (Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs : Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution et Contrôle)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


MIVEGEC Maladies Infectieuses et Vecteurs : Ecologie, Génétique, Evolution et Contrôle

Help of the ANR 148,824 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 18 Months

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