Genetic markers for study of the anopheline vectors of human malaria

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35 Scopus citations


Human malaria is truly a disease of global proportions and is one of the most broadly distributed vector-borne infections. Anopheline mosquitoes are the exclusive vectors of human malaria. A handful of species predominate as the most notorious malaria vectors, but the species and forms involved in the transmission of human malaria world-wide are incredibly diverse. Many of the anophelines that vector malaria exist as members of species complexes that often contain vector and non-vector species. Additionally, single anopheline species often exhibit significant heterogeneity across the species' range. This phenotypic and genotypic plasticity exacerbates the difficulties in identification of vector populations and implementation of effective surveillance and control strategies. Polytene chromosome investigations were among the first to provide researchers with tangible genetic markers that could be used to differentiate between what are now recognised as species and chromosomal forms of anopheline mosquitoes. The advent of the polymerase chain reaction gave access to the molecular genetics of genomes and the techniques that followed have facilitated investigation of the genetics of individual specimens or population size samples. The variety and number of genetic markers available for the study of malaria vectors has literally exploded in the last 10 years. Markers have expanded from the 'traditional tools' to include a vast array of molecular markers. Contemporary markers range from what are now referred to as 'classical genetic markers' to methods used to detect and identify single nucleotide polymorphisms and finally to highly polymorphic markers. One of the greatest advantages of this wide variety of genetic markers is that researchers may choose to utilise any combination of markers or techniques to address multifaceted questions relating to malaria transmission. These molecular markers have proven useful in a wide variety of applications including molecular taxonomy, evolutionary systematics, population genetics, genetic mapping, and investigation of defined phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1607-1615
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 4 2002


  • Anopheles
  • DNA
  • Diptera
  • Molecular marker
  • Mosquito

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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