Frequency of cross-fertilization in the human malaria parasitePlasmodium falciparum
Ranford-Cartwright LC., Balfe P., Carter R., Walliker D.
SummaryTwo clones of the human malaria parasitePlasmodium falciparum, denoted 3D7 and HB3, were grownin vitrounder conditions permitting the development of gametocytes. The two clones differ in their allelic forms of two antigen genes MSP1 and MSP2. The alleles can be distinguished as size differences of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified fragments of repetitive regions of each gene. Mosquitoes (Anopheles stephensi) were fed on a mixture of these gametocytes. A total of 128 oocysts was isolated from the midguts of infected mosquitoes from 9 crossing experiments between the clones. DNA extracted from these oocysts was amplified by PCR. Oocysts which contained both alleles of each gene (MSP1 and MSP2) had developed from heterozygotes produced by cross-fertilization events between 3D7 and HB3 gametes. The remaining oocysts contained single alleles of each gene, in parent clone combinations, and these had developed from homozygotes formed by self-fertilizations. The results suggest that gametes in the original mixture fed to mosquitoes had undergone random mating.