Typing of polymorphic microsatellites that are linked to drug resistance genes has shed light on the origin and pattern of spread of some anti-malarial drugs. Recent surveys revealed spread of a high-level pyrimethemine resistant lineage of Plasmodium falciparum, of Asian origin, across Africa. Here, we examined mutations in dihydrofolate reductase, dhfr [chromsosome 4], the dihydropteroate synthase, dhps [chromosome 8] associated with resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), and neighboring microsatellites among P. falciparum isolates in Asar village, eastern Sudan. This area lies at the fringes of malaria endemicity, where the remote P. falciparum parasites have some distinct genetic characteristics. Overall, 89% (84/94) of the examined isolates carried double mutations at dhfr (N51I and S108N), but the 59R and I164L mutations were not seen. Similarly, the majority, 43% (35/81) of the isolates carried double mutations at dhps (437G, 540E). Analysis of neighboring microsatellites revealed one major dhfr haplotype with mutations (51I, 108N) and one dhps haplotype with mutations (436S, 437G, 540E). These haplotypes differ from the major ones thought to drive resistance to SP across Africa. The resistant haplotypes of dhfr and dhps, in Asar, share some microsatellites with the wild genotypes suggesting that they were generated locally. Among isolates successfully examined, 40% shared identical haplotypes of the 2 loci, comprising a dominant resistant lineage. Undoubtedly, this lineage plays an important role in clinical failure to SP in this area.
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