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How can we determine the molecular clock of malaria parasites?

Author:
  • Staffan Bensch
  • Olof Hellgren
  • Asta Križanauskienė
  • Vaidas Palinauskas
  • Gediminas Valkiūnas
  • Diana Outlaw
  • Robert E Ricklefs
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 363-369
Publication/Series: Trends in Parasitology
Volume: 29
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The association of contemporary hosts and their parasites might reflect either cospeciation or more recent shifts among existing hosts. Cospeciation implies that lineages of hosts and parasites diverge in parallel at the same time, but testing this prediction requires time-calibrated phylogenies, which are particularly difficult to obtain in organisms that leave few fossils. It has successively become clear that host shifts have been frequent in the evolutionary history of malaria parasites, but dating these host shifts cannot be done without calibrated phylogenies. Hence, it remains unresolved how long contemporary hosts and vectors have been coevolving with their malaria parasites. This review addresses conflicting rate estimates of molecular evolution and suggests research directions to aid dating diversification events in malaria parasites.

Keywords

  • Biological Sciences
  • apicomplexa
  • birds
  • cospeciation
  • host shifts
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • Plasmodium
  • rate calibration

Other

Published
  • Malaria in birds
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1471-5007
Staffan Bensch
E-mail: staffan [dot] bensch [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Head of unit

MEMEG

+46 46 222 42 92

E-C213

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Research group

Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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