Volume 60, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The genetic diversity displayed by Plasmodiumfalciparum field isolates, the occurrence of variant forms of the parasite at different frequencies in different geographic areas, and the complexity of the infections represent major obstacles for the development of effective malaria control measures. However, since most of the existing studies have been performed in regions where P. falciparum transmission is high, little is known about the diversity and complexity of parasite populations circulating in areas of low malaria endemicity. We investigated the extent of genetic polymorphism in P. falciparum field isolates from Honduras, a region where its transmission is low and seasonal. Allelic diversity was analyzed in the highly polymorphic parasite genes encoding the merozoite surface proteins- (MSP-1) and -2 (MSP-2) and the glutamate-rich protein (GLURP) by the polymerase chain reaction. Gene polymorphism was also assessed in the EB200 region derived from the highly size polymorphic Pf332 gene. Limited size polymorphism was detected in all genes analyzed, with four and three variants for the MSP-1 and MSP-2 alleles, respectively, and two size variants for the GLURP and Pf332 genes. Moreover, based on the studied genetic markers, most infections consisted of only a few genetically distinct parasite clones. These results suggest that the P. falciparum parasite populations circulating in this region are genetically homogeneous and point to an association between the extent of parasite genetic diversity and the intensity of malaria transmission.


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