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Bionomy of Anopheles spp (vector of malaria in Honduras) through morphological and molecular approaches during the year 2020
Honduras (IFMSA-Honduras), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras - Ciudad Universitaria (UNAH-CU), Tegucigalpa
Genetics Research Center, Microbiology Research Institute, National Autonomous University of Honduras, J1 Building, 2nd floor, Boulevard Suyapa, Tegucigalpa, 11101, Francisco Morazán, Honduras.
Gustavo Fontecha, PhD
Theory: Gustavo Fontecha, PhD Research: Gustavo Fontecha, PhD and Alejandra Pinto, BSc Fieldwork: Denis Escobar, BSc
Type of Research Project
- Global Action Project (GAP)
What is the background of the project?
The Anopheles mosquito is the vector of malaria, a tropical disease caused by two species of Plasmodium spp. (P. vivax and P. falciparum) in Central America. The genus Anopheles includes 465 species, and more than 50 unnamed members. Approximately 70 species of Anopheles have the ability to transmit malaria parasites, and 41 are considered to be dominant vectors with sufficient vector capacity to be considered a public health problem. This study aims to update knowledge about Anopheles biodiversity in Honduras through morphological data and two molecular markers (COI, ITS). For this purpose, collection trips will be made to the selected areas of the country, the váucher will be digitally documented, their morphology will be analyzed to classify the mosquitoes taxonomically, and molecular studies will be carried out to confirm the classification. With all this information, geo-positioned maps will be generated with the updated distribution of mosquito species. Other bionomic aspects will also be addressed, such as the food preferences of each species.
What is the aim of the project?
• Identify species of the genus Anopheles in endemic malaria areas of Honduras by morphometry and conventional taxonomic keys. • Describe the species of Anopheles in endemic malaria areas of Honduras using the molecular markers COI and ITS2 in a multilocus approach. • Determine Anopheles species infected with Plasmodium sp. by molecular techniques in an endemic area of malaria. • Describe the food source of the engorged females of Anopheles spp. by molecular techniques.
What techniques and methods are used?
The student will work mainly in a molecular biology laboratory and in a parasitology laboratory. The techniques used by the student were previously described above. The student will do morphological classification of Anopheles using taxonomic keys. The insects (voucher) will be preserved so that we can proceed with DNA extraction using commercial kits and/or in-house protocols. Later, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification will occur and DNA electrophoresis in agarose gels. The next step is doing fluorometric DNA quantification through the Qubit System. At last, there will be DNA sequencing and DNA sequence analysis through the Geneious software. Bioinformatics will be used regarding sequences in the National Center for Biotechnology Information and BARCODE. We will conclude by constructing phylogenetic trees.
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student is expected to be involved in all phases of the research: theoretical training on malaria, at least one field trip in which specimens of Anopheles will be captured in endemic malaria areas of Honduras, satellite geo-positioning, morphological classification of insects according to taxonomic keys using a stereoscope, specimen (voucher) preservation, DNA extraction, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) amplification of molecular markers, DNA electrophoresis, DNA quantification (Qubit System), DNA sequencing, sequence analysis (Geneious software), deposit of sequences in BARCODE (http: // www. barcodinglife.org), construction of phylogenetic trees, presentation of results.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, through lectures, seminars and journal clubs. Aproximately 2-3 days will be focused on the theoretical teaching.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication - The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
None. The student's expected skills will be developed in Honduras. Any previous experience in a molecular biology laboratory is desirable but not necessary.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system - Students in biomedical fields
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- Chan et al. Parasites & Vectors 2014; 7:569 http://www.parasitesandvectors.com/content/7/1/5 69
- Fang et al. Parasites & Vectors (2017) 10:417 DOI 10.1186/s13071-017-2351-x
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- Ogola et al. Malar J (2017) 16:360 DOI 10.1186/s12936-017-2015-5
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