Phenomics, Genomics and Genetics in Plasmodium vinckei

  • Abhinay Ramaprasad

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Rodent malaria parasites (RMPs) serve as tractable models for experimental genetics, and as valuable tools to study malaria parasite biology and host-parasitevector interactions. Plasmodium vinckei, one of four RMPs adapted to laboratory mice, is the most geographically widespread species and displays considerable phenotypic and genotypic diversity amongst its subspecies and strains. The phenotypes and genotypes of P. vinckei isolates have been relatively less characterized compared to other RMPs, hampering its use as an experimental model for malaria. Here, we have studied the phenotypes and sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of ten P. vinckei isolates including representatives of all five subspecies, all of which were collected from wild thicket rats (Thamnomys rutilans) in sub-Saharan Central Africa between the late 1940s and mid 1960s. We have generated a comprehensive resource for P. vinckei comprising of five high-quality reference genomes, growth profiles and genotypes of P. vinckei isolates, and expression profiles of genes across the intra-erythrocytic developmental stages of the parasite. We observe significant phenotypic and genotypic diversity among P. vinckei isolates, making them particularly suitable for classical genetics and genomics-driven studies on malaria parasite biology. As part of a proof of concept study, we have shown that experimental genetic crosses can be performed between P. vinckei parasites to potentially identify genotype-phenotype relationships. We have also shown that they are amenable to genetic manipulation in the laboratory.
Date of AwardNov 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorArnab Pain (Supervisor)


  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium Vinckei
  • rodent malaria parasites
  • Genome
  • phenome
  • Transcriptome

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