Detection of Plasmodium Falciparum Using a Synthetic DNA Probe

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  • 1 Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics, Texas A&M College of Medicine, College Station, Texas 77843-1112
  • ** Malaria Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

A labeled synthetic polynucleotide representing a repetitive sequence from Plasmodium falciparum was hybridized with genomic DNA spotted on nitrocellulose. After an overnight exposure, 0.1 ng of P. falciparum DNA was specifically detected and 0.01 ng was detected after an exposure of 1 week. The synthetic probe showed no cross-hybridization with host DNA or with DNA isolated from other species in the phylum Apicomplexa, P. vivax and Babesia species. Since synthetic DNA is easily prepared, the observed sensitivity and specificity suggests that synthetic DNA probes would be generally useful in diagnosis.