Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Plasmodium Falciparum Isolates From Dakar, Senegal, Investigated From Microsatellite and Antigen Determinant Loci

Microbes Infect. 2002 Jun;4(7):685-92. doi: 10.1016/s1286-4579(02)01587-3.


We investigated the genetic diversity and the population structure of 32 Plasmodium falciparum blood sample isolates (25 from Dakar city and suburbs and seven from other localities in Senegal) with two different types of molecular markers, 19 microsatellite and four antigenic determinant loci. Under the same technical procedure, microsatellite loci showed a mean number of alleles greater than that of antigenic loci. Both markers revealed that 15.6% of blood samples were multi-infected. Mean expected heterozygosity calculated from microsatellites and antigens was similar, 0.74 and 0.70, respectively. Significant linkage disequilibrium was observed from microsatellite loci and antigenic determinant loci. This suggests a non-panmictic structure for this sample that could be explained by two non-exclusive hypotheses: (i) a particular mating system (i.e. clonality), and/or (ii) a population structure in P. falciparum (i.e. Wahlund effect). Urban samples could have been drawn from a heterogeneous set of foci with different level of parasitic transmission. Moreover, no relationship was found between multilocus genotypes and different parameters (i.e. age, sex and blood group of parasitized patients; number of trophozoites per microliter of blood). The results are discussed taking into account recently published studies on malaria population biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics*
  • Child
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Protozoan / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sample Size
  • Senegal


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Epitopes