Volume 64, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


In areas highly endemic for malaria, individuals are frequently found to be infected simultaneously with multiple Plasmodium falciparum clones. This raises the question of whether all parasite clones produce gametocytes equally or whether gametocytogenesis is suppressed in some clones. In order to assess this in epidemiological studies, polymorphic genes specifically expressed in gametocytes could be analyzed by both amplification of genomic DNA from blood samples and by reverse transcribed polymerase chain reaction amplifying expressed gametocyte-specific genes only. Here we report the analysis of diversity in the three gametocyte-specific genes Pfs16, Pfs48/45, and Pfs230. In addition to the previously published data, limited polymorphism was found in the coding sequences of Pfs16 and Pfs48/45. Larger polymorphism was identified in Pfs230, which might allow the development of a discriminating PCR-based genotyping scheme for transmission studies. However, the limited polymorphism in Pfs16 and Pfs48/45 renders these molecules poorly useful for such studies.


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