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Population Genetics of the Filarial Worm Wuchereria bancrofti in a Post-treatment Region of Papua New Guinea: Insights into Diversity and Life History.

Small, Scott T, Ramesh, Akshaya, Bun, Krufinta, Reimer, Lisa, Thomsen, Edward, Baea, Manasseh, Bockarie, Moses, Siba, Peter, Kazura, James W, Tisch, Daniel J and Zimmerman, Peter A (2013) 'Population Genetics of the Filarial Worm Wuchereria bancrofti in a Post-treatment Region of Papua New Guinea: Insights into Diversity and Life History.'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 7, Issue 7, e2308.

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Wuchereria bancrofti (Wb) is the primary causative agent of lymphatic filariasis (LF). Our studies of LF in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have shown that it is possible to reduce the prevalence of Wb in humans and mosquitoes through mass drug administration (MDA; diethylcarbamazine with/without ivermectin). While MDAs in the Dreikikir region through 1998 significantly reduced prevalence of Wb infection, parasites continue to be transmitted in the area.


We sequenced the Wb mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase 1 (CO1) gene from 16 people infected with Wb. Patients were selected from 7 villages encompassing both high and moderate annual transmission potentials (ATP). We collected genetic data with the objectives to (i) document contemporary levels of genetic diversity and (ii) distinguish between populations of parasites and hosts across the study area.


We discovered 109 unique haplotypes currently segregating in the Wb parasite population, with one common haplotype present in 15 out of 16 infections. We found that parasite diversity was similar among people residing within the same village and clustered within transmission zones. For example, in the high transmission area, diversity tended to be more similar between neighboring villages, while in the moderate transmission area, diversity tended to be less similar.


In the Dreikikir region of PNG there are currently high levels of genetic diversity in populations of Wb. High levels of genetic diversity may complicate future MDAs in this region and the presence of dominant haplotypes will require adjustments to current elimination strategies.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 500 Genetic phenomena
QX Parasitology > Helminths. Annelida > QX 301 Filarioidea
QX Parasitology > QX 45 Host-parasite relations
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 880 Filariasis and related conditions (General)
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Samantha Sheldrake
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2013 11:58
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:06


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