Genetic `barcode` to identify origin of malaria

Last Updated: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 18:31

London: Containing malaria could be a lot more convenient as researchers have now designed a genetic barcode of malaria parasite, which can be used to identify the geographic origin of the parasite from a blood sample and monitor its spread.

"By taking finger-prick bloodspots from malaria patients, physicians could use this new barcode to quickly and accurately identify where a form of the parasite may have come from, and help in programmes of malaria elimination and resistance containment," explained Cally Roper from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The researchers found a highly predictive barcode in the genetic sequence of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

"Our work represents a breakthrough in the genetic barcoding of P falciparum as it reveals very specific and accurate sequences for different geographic settings," Taane Clark from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said.

The researchers analysed DNA of over 700 P falciparum malaria parasites taken from patients in 14 countries in West Africa, East Africa, South East Asia, Oceania and South America.

According to the authors, this barcode is limited as the current study lacks representation of the Indian sub-continent, Central America, southern Africa and the Caribbean, owing to the scarcity of sequence data from these regions.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

IANS
First Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 18:31
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