Malaria is one of the main human public health problems in the tropical world and is possibly becoming an emerging disease too in regions where it has been controlled. It has been an excellent model in the area of molecular studies, with scientific validation of techniques, application of data mainly in studies of parasite diversity and information on a number of different aspects associated with infection and disease. The transfer of the gathered knowledge and experience in malaria to other infections is of great use and we briefly review a number of molecular markers, methodologies and techniques mostly used for Plasmodium detection, as well as identification or characterization of parasite populations. Selection of appropriate techniques depends on the questions raised and the studies' objectives - the antigen-coding genes, microsatellite loci and drug-resistance associated markers being the three most analysed classes of markers. The need of validation and standardization of laboratory protocols is addressed and discussed as it may determine the comparison of data between different studies and laboratories, with relevance in field-collected samples or studies.
- Molecular epidemiology
- Molecular markers