A new malaria agent in African chimpanzees found
Unité des Maladies Virales Emergentes, Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon.
Researchers reported the discovery of a new Plasmodium species infecting Hominids.
New species has been isolated in two chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) kept as pets by villagers in Gabon (Africa).
Analysis of its complete mitochondrial genome (5529 nucleotides including Cyt b, Cox I and Cox III genes) reveals an older divergence of this lineage from the clade that includes P. falciparum and P. reichenowi (approximately 21+/-9 Myrs ago using Bayesian methods and considering that the divergence between P. falciparum and P. reichenowi occurred 4 to 7 million years ago as generally considered in the literature).
This time frame would be congruent with the radiation of hominoids, suggesting that this Plasmodium lineage might have been present in early hominoids and that they may both have experienced a simultaneous diversification.