Quantification of female and male Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes by reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR

Petra Schneider, Sarah E. Reece, Ben C L Van Schaijk, Teun Bousema, Kjerstin H W Lanke, Cora S J Meaden, Amal Gadalla, Lisa C. Ranford-Cartwright, Hamza A. Babiker

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The transmission of malaria parasites depends on the presence of sexual stages (gametocytes) in the blood, making the ratio and densities of female and male gametocytes important determinants of parasite fitness. This manuscript describes the development of reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) assays to separately quantify mature female and male gametocytes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and reveals that Pfs25 mRNA is expressed only in female gametocytes. The female (Pfs25) and male (Pfs230p) gametocyte specific RT-qPCR assays have lower detection limits of 0.3 female and 1.8 male gametocytes per microlitre of blood, respectively, making them more sensitive than microscopy. Accurate quantification of the ratio and densities of female and male gametocytes will increase understanding of P. falciparum transmission and improve the evaluation of transmission blocking interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Gametocyte sex ratio
  • Malaria
  • PCR
  • Pfs25 Pfs230p
  • Sex-specific quantitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Parasitology

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