Molecular Characterization Reveals Diverse and Unknown Malaria Vectors in the Western Kenyan Highlands.

St Laurent, B; Cooke, M; Krishnankutty, SM; Asih, P; Mueller, JD; Kahindi, S; Ayoma, E; Oriango, RM; Thumloup, J; Drakeley, C; Cox, J; Collins, FH; Lobo, NF; Stevenson, JC; (2016) Molecular Characterization Reveals Diverse and Unknown Malaria Vectors in the Western Kenyan Highlands. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 94 (2). pp. 327-35. ISSN 0002-9637 DOI:

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: The success of mosquito-based malaria control is dependent upon susceptible bionomic traits in local malaria vectors. It is crucial to have accurate and reliable methods to determine mosquito species composition in areas subject to malaria. An unexpectedly diverse set of Anopheles species was collected in the western Kenyan highlands, including unidentified and potentially new species carrying the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This study identified 2,340 anopheline specimens using both ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer region 2 and mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 loci. Seventeen distinct sequence groups were identified. Of these, only eight could be molecularly identified through comparison to published and voucher sequences. Of the unidentified species, four were found to carry P. falciparum by circumsporozoite enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction, the most abundant of which had infection rates comparable to a primary vector in the area, Anopheles funestus. High-quality adult specimens of these unidentified species could not be matched to museum voucher specimens or conclusively identified using multiple keys, suggesting that they may have not been previously described. These unidentified vectors were captured outdoors. Diverse and unknown species have been incriminated in malaria transmission in the western Kenya highlands using molecular identification of unusual morphological variants of field specimens. This study demonstrates the value of using molecular methods to compliment vector identifications and highlights the need for accurate characterization of mosquito species and their associated behaviors for effective malaria control.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Immunology and Infection
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 26787150
Web of Science ID: 369465500014


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