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Acta Trop. 2012 Jan;121(1):6-12. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Genetic diversity in the merozoite surface protein 1 and 2 genes of Plasmodium falciparum from the Artibonite Valley of Haiti.

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Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Describing genetic diversity of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite provides important information about the local epidemiology of malaria. In this study, we examined the genetic diversity of P. falciparum isolates from the Artibonite Valley in Haiti using the allelic families of merozoite surface protein 1 and 2 genes (msp-1 and msp-2). The majority of study subjects infected with P. falciparum had a single parasite genotype (56% for msp-1 and 69% for msp-2: n=79); 9 distinct msp-1 genotypes were identified by size differences on agarose gels. K1 was the most polymorphic allelic family with 5 genotypes (amplicons from 100 to 300 base pairs [bp]); RO33 was the least polymorphic, with a single genotype (120-bp). Although both msp-2 alleles (3D7/IC1, FC27) had similar number of genotypes (n=4), 3D7/IC1 was more frequent (85% vs. 26%). All samples were screened for the presence of the K76T mutation on the P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) gene with 10 of 79 samples positive. Of the 2 (out of 10) samples from individuals follow-up for 21 days, P. falciparum parasites were present through day 7 after treatment with chloroquine. No parasites were found on day 21. Our results suggest that the level of genetic diversity is low in this area of Haiti, which is consistent with an area of low transmission.

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