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

Petra Schneider*, Hamza A. Babiker, Amal A.H. Gadalla, Sarah E. Reece

*Corresponding author for this work

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: the 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 with single genotype infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-604
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Volume49
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019

Keywords

  • Competition
  • Fertility insurance
  • Gametocyte density
  • Local mate competition
  • Seasonal malaria transmission
  • Sex allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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