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Evolutionary aspects of Anopheles-Plasmodium interactions

Abstract : Interactions between Plasmodium parasites and their Anopheles vectors are central to the epidemiology of human malaria. This chapter highlights how an evolutionary perspective on Anopheles-Plasmodium interactions can provide important insights into the history, distribution and dynamics of malaria transmission. It focuses on three aspects: (1) the macro-evolutionary history of malaria parasites in relation with their vectors, (2) the micro-evolutionary mechanisms shaping mosquito-parasite interactions and their impact on malaria transmission, and (3) the contribution of evolutionary concepts in the assessment of novel strategies to control malaria. The geographical distribution of diverse anopheline species and populations has played an important role in the past and present distribution of malaria. In particular, speciation processes and genetic differentiation of vectors may have been important drivers of the evolution of human malaria parasites. A full understanding of the epidemiology of malaria also requires careful consideration of the micro-evolutionary relationships between mosquitoes and malaria parasites. Malaria parasites have evolved, for example, to manipulate several parameters of the vector biology that are expected to increase their transmission. Finally, an evolutionary approach is useful for assessing the feasibility of innovative malaria control strategies such as the release of transgenic mosquitoes. Considering the epidemiological feedback and the evolutionary response of wild mosquito and parasite populations is crucial for predicting the evolutionary trajectory of such a control measure. A major challenge for future research is to obtain quantitative, epidemiologically relevant estimates of the critical parameters underlying Anopheles-Plasmodium interactions in natural systems.
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Louis Lambrechts, Jacob C. Koella. Evolutionary aspects of Anopheles-Plasmodium interactions. Springer. Ecology of parasite-vector interactions, 3, Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp.123-137, 2013, Ecology and control of vector-borne diseases, 978-90-8686-744-8. ⟨10.3920/978-90-8686-744-8_6⟩. ⟨pasteur-02010923⟩



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