Volume 94, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



An important aspect of many malaria molecular epidemiology and transmission studies is RNA-based detection of gametocytes. Ensuring RNA stability represents a challenge in tropical, resource-limited environments, as RNA may quickly degrade when samples are not preserved under adequate conditions. This study investigated the degradation of messenger RNA (mRNA), the most widely used gametocyte marker, in whole blood spiked with cultured gametocytes, exposed to different temperatures for up to 48 hours, and collected with different anticoagulants. The levels of mRNA were similar between samples stored at 4°C and 30°C for up to 48 hours before stabilization with RNAprotect (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany). We observed that mRNA in heparin-collected blood degraded less than that in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)–collected blood over the 48-hour period. For field studies aiming for gametocyte detection, immediate stabilization of blood samples is not necessary, as the transcript is relatively stable, more so in heparin than EDTA collection tubes.


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  • Received : 20 Jul 2015
  • Accepted : 17 Nov 2015
  • Published online : 06 Apr 2016

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