Malaria in humans: Plasmodium falciparum blood infection levels are linked to chromosome 5q31-q33

Am J Hum Genet. 1998 Aug;63(2):498-505. doi: 10.1086/301967.


Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in many tropical countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. Human genetic control of malaria infection is poorly understood; in particular, genes controlling P. falciparum blood infection levels remain to be identified. We recently evidenced the existence of complex genetic factors controlling blood infection levels in an urban population living in Burkina Faso. We performed, on 153 sibs from 34 families, sib-pair linkage analyses between blood infection levels and chromosome 5q31-q33, which contains numerous candidate genes encoding immunological molecules. Our results, obtained by means of the two-point Haseman-Elston (HE) method and a nonparametric (NP) approach, show linkage of parasitemia to D5S393 (P=.002) and D5S658 (P=.0004). Multipoint analyses confirmed linkage, with a peak close to D5S658 (P=.0013 and P=.0007 with the HE and NP methods, respectively). The heritability of the locus was .48, according to the two-point results, and .43, according to the multipoint results; this indicates that its variation accounted for approximately 45% of the variance of blood infection levels and that the locus plays a central role in the control of parasitemia. The identification of the gene is, therefore, of major interest in understanding the mechanisms controlling P. falciparum parasitemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Alleles
  • Burkina Faso / epidemiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 5*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / blood*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / epidemiology
  • Malaria, Falciparum / genetics*
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Pedigree
  • Urban Population


  • Genetic Markers