Genetic Diversity of Plasmodium falciparum Shows Geographical Variation

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  • University of Edinburgh, Chulalongkorn University, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Blair Research Laboratory, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Sixty Plasmodium falciparum isolates, 20 each from Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Brazil, were characterized for 20 variant genetic markers, including the enzymes glucose phosphate isomerase, adenosine deaminase and peptidase, 11 other proteins detected by 2-dimensional electrophoresis (2D-PAGE), 2 merozoite surface antigens (MSA-1 and MSA-2), one exported antigen (Exp-1), and sensitivity to the drugs chloroquine, pyrimethamine, and mefloquine. The study examines the extent of diversity between individual isolates and the differences in the frequency of certain variants of the markers between the 3 countries. The principal conclusions to be drawn from the study are that there is extensive polymorphism in many of the genetically determined characters of this parasite, multiple infections with >1 genetically distinct parasite are common, and there are geographical variations in the frequencies with which variant forms of certain markers occur.