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    ABSTRACT: Background & objectives: The relationship between altitude, temperature and malaria are poorly understood. Hence, a study was undertaken at three sites of Udham Singh Nagar (erstwhile Nainital district) and Nainital district (Uttarakhand) during 2010- 11 for the generation of evidences in the context of potential threat of climate change. Methods: Data on temperature and relative humidity (RH) were recorded through data-logger device in study villages at the altitudes of 166, 226 and 609 m were selected for detailed work. Mosquito collections were made fortnightly during 0600- 0800 hrs. Malaria incidence data were procured from concerned Primary Health Centres. Results: The study provides evidences of decrease in temperature with increase in altitude, even within a district resulting in variation in temporal distribution of malaria vector. With the increase of 67 m altitude between plains and foothill village, there was a reduction in temperature to the tune of 1.1°C and with further increase in altitude of 416 m between foothill and hilly villages, the temperature decreased by 0.27°C. The difference in temperature at three altitudes affects the Transmission windows (TWs) of both Plasmodium vivax (Pv) and P. falciparum (Pf), and opening of TWs are inversely proportional to altitude. In the plains, the TW for Pv and Pf were open for 11 and 10 months respectively, while 10 and 9 months in the foothills and 9 and 8 months, respectively for both the parasites at hilly altitude. Comparison of malaria vectors in plains, foothills, and hilly villages showed that the availability of Anopheles culicifacies and An. fluviatilis decreased with an increase in altitude from foothills to hilly areas. Interpretation & conclusion: This study may be extrapolated to know the suitability of occurrence of malaria vectors and transmission of parasites at different altitudes from the viewpoint of temperature as limiting factor in unknown areas.
    Journal of vector borne diseases 11/2013; 50(3):220-4.
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    ABSTRACT: Background & objectives: The search for effective polymorphic markers in Plasmodium vivax is highly demanding to understand its transmission in a population. Due to the limited knowledge existing for P. vivax, the search for polymorphic markers for population studies is ongoing. The MSP gene family of Plasmodia has been linked with immune evasion. To study the circulating parasite population P. vivax merozoite surface protein 3β (PvMSP3β) polymorphic marker was used to investigate the genetic diversity of P. vivax in natural infections. Methods: Polymorphism of PvMSP3β gene was determined in 46 P. vivax blood samples from six different regions of India by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) with PstI. Results: Two different parasite genotypes, viz. type-A and type-B were detected among 46 samples that were positive for PCR, based on the size of the amplification. RFLP analysis with PstI showed 22 allelic groups and 15.2% samples revealed mixed infections on analysis. Conclusion: PvMSP3β was found to be an effective molecular marker for P. vivax as it shows high diversity in India and multiple genotypes easily distinguishable without the need for sequencing.
    Journal of vector borne diseases 11/2013; 50(3):197-201.
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    ABSTRACT: Evolution and spread of chloroquine resistant (CQR) malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum have posed great threat in malaria intervention across the globe. The occurrence of K76T mutation in the P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) gene has been widely attributed to CQR with four neighboring mutations providing compensatory fitness benefit to the parasite survival. Understanding evolutionary patterns of the pfcrt gene is of great relevance not only for devising new malaria control measures but also could serve as a model to understand evolution and spread of other human drug-resistant pathogens. Several studies, mainly based on differential patterns of diversities of the microsatellite loci placed in-and-around the pfcrt gene have indicated the role of positive natural selection under the 'hitchhiking' model of molecular evolution. However, the studies were restricted to limited number of microsatellite loci present inside the pfcrt gene. Moreover, comparatively higher level of diversities in microsatellite loci present inside the pfcrt gene than the loci flanking the pfcrt gene are hallmarks of Indian P. falciparum, presenting contrasting evolutionary models to global isolates. With a view to infer evolutionary patterns of the pfcrt gene in Indian P. falciparum, we have adopted a unique sampling scheme of two types of populations (cultured and field collected) and utilized 20 polymorphic microsatellite loci (16 located inside the pfcrt gene and four in the two flanking regions) to disentangle between genetic drift (inbred cultured isolates) and natural selection (field isolates). Data analyses employing different population genetic tests could not straightforwardly explain either the model invoking 'genetic hitchhiking' or 'genetic drift'. However, complex evolutionary models influenced by both demography and natural selection or an alternative model of natural selection (e.g. diversifying/balancing selection) might better explain the observed microsatellite variation in-and-around the pfcrt gene in Indian P. falciparum.
    Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 10/2013; 20. DOI:10.1016/j.meegid.2013.10.010


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