Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Population genetic structure of Plasmodium falciparum in the two main African vectors, Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus.


We investigated patterns of genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum associated with its two main African vectors: Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus. We dissected 10,296 wild-caught mosquitoes from three tropical sites, two in Cameroon (Simbock and Tibati, separated by 320 km) and one in Kenya (Rota, >2,000 km from the other two sites). We assayed seven microsatellite loci in 746 oocysts from 183 infected mosquito guts. Genetic polymorphism was very high in parasites isolated from both vector species. The expected heterozygosity (H(E)) was 0.79 in both species; the observed heterozygosities (H(O)) were 0.32 in A. funestus and 0.42 in A. gambiae, indicating considerable inbreeding within both vector species. Mean selfing (s) between genetically identical gametes was s = 0.33. Differences in the rate of inbreeding were statistically insignificant among sites and between the two vector species. As expected, because of the high rate of inbreeding, linkage disequilibrium was very high; it was significant for all 21 loci pairs in A. gambiae and for 15 of 21 pairs in A. funestus, although only two pairwise comparisons were between loci on the same chromosome. Overall, the genetic population structure of P. falciparum, as evaluated by F statistics, was predominantly clonal rather than panmictic, a population structure that facilitates the spread of antimalarial drug and vaccine resistance and thus may impair the effectiveness of malaria control efforts.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View