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Genome Announc. 2017 July; 5(28): e00612-17.
Published online 2017 July 13. doi:  10.1128/genomeA.00612-17
PMCID: PMC5511914

Draft Genome Sequence of Plasmodium gonderi, a Malaria Parasite of African Old World Monkeys


Plasmodium gonderi is a primate parasite whose natural host is the African Old World monkeys. Here, we report the draft genome sequence for P. gonderi. The data are useful not only for understanding the evolution of malaria but also for allowing the comparative genomics of malaria parasites.


The natural hosts of Plasmodium gonderi are African guenon such as mangabeys (e.g., Cercocebus atys, C. galeritus, C. aterrimus, and Cercopithecus spp.) and drills (e.g., Mandrillus leucophaeus) (1, 2). P. gonderi is usually used as the outgroup species for phylogenetic analysis of the Asian macaque malaria parasite clade (2, 3), which includes P. vivax, the most widely distributed human malaria parasite. However, to date, a thorough understanding of the evolutionary process of this malaria parasite has been hampered by the limited genomic resources available on P. gonderi. Here, we report the first draft genome sequence for P. gonderi, based on a combination of short-read (MiSeq) and long-read (PacBio) sequencing technology.

An infected blood sample of P. gonderi (ATCC 30045) was obtained from an experimentally infected Japanese macaque. The investigators adhered to the Guidelines for the Use of Experimental Animals authorized by the Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science. The protocol was approved by the Committee on the Ethics of Animal Experiments of the Dokkyo University of School of Medicine (permit no. 0536). Genomic DNA of P. gonderi was extracted from parasitized red blood cells using the saponin method (4). Whole-genome sequencing was performed using the MiSeq (Illumina) and PacBio RS II (Pacific Biosciences) platforms. For the MiSeq sequencing, 500 ng of genomic DNA was sheared to about 600 bp; the library was prepared using KAPA library preparation kits (KAPA Biosystems), and then paired-end sequencing (2 × 251 bp) was performed. For the PacBio RS II sequencing, 2 μg of genomic DNA was sheared to about 15 kb; the library was prepared using a DNA template prep kit version 1.0 (Pacific Biosciences), and sequencing was performed. De novo assembly of the MiSeq reads was performed with Celera Assembler version 8.1 (5). Scaffolding of the MiSeq contigs with PacBio subreads was performed using SSPACE-LONGREAD version 1.1 (6). GapFiller version 1.10 (7) was used to close gaps. Scaffolds corresponding to 14 chromosomes, 1 apicoplast genome, and 1 mitochondrial genome were constructed using the P. vivax genome (8) as a reference. MiSeq and PacBio reads were remapped to the scaffolds, and unmapped reads were collected and assembled into 727 contigs using CLC Genomics Workbench version 7.5.1 (CLC bio/QIAGEN).

Gene prediction was performed using AUGUSTUS (9) implemented on Geneious version 9.1.7 (10), followed by manual correction by comparison with orthologous gene sequences of closely related Plasmodium spp.

The final assembly of the P. gonderi genome consisted of 743 scaffolds and contigs comprising 33.0 Mb. The mean coverage was 253×, and the maximum length was 3,573,180 bp with an N50 of 1.64 Mb and a G+C content of 26.9%. The nuclear genome covers a predicted 5,885 protein-encoding genes, 13 rRNAs, and 44 tRNAs; for the apicoplast genome, 29 protein-encoding genes, 4 rRNAs, and 34 tRNAs were predicted; and the mitochondrial genome is predicted to contain 3 protein-encoding genes.

Accession number(s).

The 14 scaffolds corresponding to the 14 chromosomes, 727 contigs of unknown chromosome location, and the mitochondrial and apicoplast genomes of P. gonderi have been deposited at DDBJ/GenBank (BioProject PRJDB5590) under the accession numbers BDQF01000001 to BDQF01000743.


This work was funded by grant JSPS KAKENHI 25460516 and by a Joint Research Project grant of the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University. We express our great thanks to the late Kazuyuki Tanabe for preparation of the parasite material and for his valuable advice for this project. This research is partially supported by the National Bio-Resource Project at the National Institute of Physiological Science through the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). Bioinformatics analyses were in part conducted using the computer system at the Genome Information Research Center of the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases at Osaka University. We thank Nirianne M. Q. Palacpac for help with language editing.


Citation Honma H, Kawai S, Motooka D, Nakamura S, Tougan T, Horii T, Arisue N. 2017. Draft genome sequence of Plasmodium gonderi, a malaria parasite of African Old World monkeys. Genome Announc 5:e00612-17.


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