Adaptive mechanisms in pathogens: universal aneuploidy in Leishmania

A. Mannaert, T. Downing, H. Imamura, J.C. Dujardin

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Genomic stability and maintenance of the correct chromosome number are assumed to be essential for normal development in eukaryotes. Aneuploidy is usually associated with severe abnormalities and decrease of cell fitness, but some organisms appear to rely on aneuploidy for rapid adaptation to changing environments. This phenomenon is mostly described in pathogenic fungi and cancer cells. However, recent genome studies highlight the importance of Leishmania as a new model for studies on aneuploidy. Several reports revealed extensive variation in chromosome copy number, indicating that aneuploidy is a constitutive feature of this protozoan parasite genus. Aneuploidy appears to be beneficial in organisms that are primarily asexual, unicellular, and that undergo sporadic epidemic expansions, including common pathogens as well as cancer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends In Parasitology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Protozoal diseases
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Leishmania
  • Aneuploidy
  • Genomics
  • Adaptation
  • Chromosomes
  • Strains
  • Species
  • Distribution
  • Review of the literature


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