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We incorporate a representation of Plasmodium falciparum recombination within a discrete-event model of malaria transmission. We simulate the introduction of a new parasite genotype into a human population in which another genotype has reached equilibrium prevalence and compare the emergence and persistence of the novel recombinant forms under differing cross-reactivity relationships between the genotypes. Cross-reactivity between the parental (initial and introduced) genotypes reduces the frequency of appearance of recombinants within three years of introduction from 100% to 14%, and delays their appearance by more than a year, on average. Cross-reactivity between parental and recombinant genotypes reduces the frequency of appearance to 36% and increases the probability of recombinant extinction following appearance from 0% to 83%. When a recombinant is cross-reactive with its parental types, its probability of extinction is influenced by cross-reactivity between the parental types in the opposite manner; that is, its probability of extinction after appearance decreases. Frequencies of P. falciparum outcrossing are mediated by frequencies of mixed-genotype infections in the host population, which are in turn mediated by the structure of cross-reactivity between parasite genotypes. The three leading hypotheses about how meiosis relates to oocyst production lead to quantitative, but no qualitative, differences in these results.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Evolution

Publication Date

07/2001

Volume

55

Pages

1299 - 1307

Keywords

Alleles, Animals, Cross Reactions, Culicidae, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Genotype, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Meiosis, Models, Biological, Plasmodium falciparum, Recombination, Genetic, Virulence