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Microsatellites can be utilized to explore genotypes, population structure, and other genomic features of eukaryotes. Systematic characterization of microsatellites has not been a focus for several species of Plasmodium, including P. malariae and P. ovale, as the majority of malaria elimination programs are focused on P. falciparum and to a lesser extent P. vivax. Here, five human malaria species (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale curtisi, and P. knowlesi) were investigated with the aim of conducting in-depth categorization of microsatellites for P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi. Investigation of reference genomes for microsatellites with unit motifs of 1-10 base pairs indicates high diversity among the five Plasmodium species. Plasmodium malariae, with the largest genome size, displays the second highest microsatellite density (1421 No./Mbp; 5% coverage) next to P. falciparum (3634 No./Mbp; 12% coverage). The lowest microsatellite density was observed in P. vivax (773 No./Mbp; 2% coverage). A, AT, and AAT are the most commonly repeated motifs in the Plasmodium species. For P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi, microsatellite-related sequences are observed in approximately 18-29% of coding sequences (CDS). Lysine, asparagine, and glutamic acids are most frequently coded by microsatellite-related CDS. The majority of these CDS could be related to the gene ontology terms "cell parts," "binding," "developmental processes," and "metabolic processes." The present study provides a comprehensive overview of microsatellite distribution and can assist in the planning and development of potentially useful genetic tools for further investigation of P. malariae and P. ovale curtisi epidemiology.

Original publication




Journal article


Parasite (Paris, France)

Publication Date





Department of Molecular Tropical Medicine and Genetics, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 10400 Bangkok, Thailand.


Plasmodium, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, Tandem Repeat Sequences, Microsatellite Repeats, Genotype, Genome, Protozoan, Gene Ontology