Evolutionary sex allocation theory explains sex ratios in natural Plasmodium falciparum infections

Petra Schneider, Hamza Babiker, Amal Gadalla, Sarah Reece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Malaria transmission is achieved by sexual stages, called gametocytes, and the proportion of gametocytes that are male versus female (sex ratio) influences transmission success. In malaria model systems, variation in gametocyte sex ratios can be explained by the predictions of evolutionary sex allocation theory. We test these predictions using natural Plasmodium falciparum infections. The predicted negative correlation between sex ratio and gametocyte density holds: sex ratio increases when gametocyte densities decrease, and this is most apparent in single genotype infections and in the dry season. We do not observe higher gametocyte sex ratios in mixed compared to single genotype infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-604
JournalInternational Journal For Parasitology
Volume49
Issue number8
Early online date31 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2019

Keywords

  • Fertility insurance
  • local mate competition
  • sex allocation
  • gametocyte density
  • seasonal malaria transmission
  • competition

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