Publications & Reports

Higher Complexity of Infection and Genetic Diversity of Plasmodium vivax Than Plasmodium falciparum Across All Malaria Transmission Zones of Papua New Guinea.

Abebe A Fola, G L Abby Harrison, Mita Hapsari Hazairin, Celine Barnadas, Manuel W Hetzel, Jonah Iga, Peter M Siba, Ivo Mueller, Alyssa E Barry
Department of Medical Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.


Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax have varying transmission dynamics that are informed by molecular epidemiology. This study aimed to determine the complexity of infection and genetic diversity of P. vivax and P. falciparum throughout Papua New Guinea (PNG) to evaluate transmission dynamics across the country. In 2008-2009, a nationwide malaria indicator survey collected 8,936 samples from all 16 endemic provinces of PNG. Of these, 892 positive P. vivax samples were genotyped at PvMS16 and PvmspF3, and 758 positive P. falciparum samples were genotyped at Pfmsp2. The data were analyzed for multiplicity of infection (MOI) and genetic diversity. Overall, P. vivax had higher polyclonality (71%) and mean MOI (2.32) than P. falciparum (20%, 1.39). These measures were significantly associated with prevalence for P. falciparum but not for P. vivax. The genetic diversity of P. vivax (PvMS16: expected heterozygosity = 0.95, 0.85-0.98; PvMsp1F3: 0.78, 0.66-0.89) was higher and less variable than that of P. falciparum (Pfmsp2: 0.89, 0.65-0.97). Significant associations of MOI with allelic richness (rho = 0.69, P = 0.009) and expected heterozygosity (rho = 0.87, P < 0.001) were observed for P. falciparum. Conversely, genetic diversity was not correlated with polyclonality nor mean MOI for P. vivax. The results demonstrate higher complexity of infection and genetic diversity of P. vivax across the country. Although P. falciparum shows a strong association of these parameters with prevalence, a lack of association was observed for P. vivax and is consistent with higher potential for outcrossing of this species.


  • Journal: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • Published: 01/03/2017
  • Volume: 96
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 630-641