Characterizing the genetic diversity of the monkey malaria parasite Plasmodium cynomolgi

Patrick L. Sutton, Zunping Luo, Paul C S Divis, Volney K. Friedrich, David J. Conway, Balbir Singh, John W. Barnwell, Jane M. Carlton, Steven A. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasmodium cynomolgi is a malaria parasite that typically infects Asian macaque monkeys, and humans on rare occasions. P. cynomolgi serves as a model system for the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax, with which it shares such important biological characteristics as formation of a dormant liver stage and a preference to invade reticulocytes. While genomes of three P. cynomolgi strains have been sequenced, genetic diversity of P. cynomolgi has not been widely investigated. To address this we developed the first panel of P. cynomolgi microsatellite markers to genotype eleven P. cynomolgi laboratory strains and 18 field isolates from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. We found diverse genotypes among most of the laboratory strains, though two nominally different strains were found to be genetically identical. We also investigated sequence polymorphism in two erythrocyte invasion gene families, the reticulocyte binding protein and Duffy binding protein genes, in these strains. We also observed copy number variation in rbp genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Evolution
  • Genetic variation
  • Microsatellite repeats
  • Plasmodium cynomolgi
  • Plasmodium vivax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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