The pfmdr1 gene, which encodes P-glycoprotein homolog 1, has been shown to be a reliable marker of resistance for Plasmodium falciparum related to artesunate and mefloquine combination therapy. The aims of this study are to investigate the copy number of pfmdr1 in P. falciparum isolates collected from the 4 malaria-endemic areas of Thailand (Kanchanaburi, Mae Hongson, Ranong, and Tak) along the Thailand–Myanmar (Burma) border (Thai–Myanmar border) by using SYBR Green I and the standard method TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and to compare the efficiency (sensitivity and specificity) of SYBR Green I with TaqMan RT-quantitative (q)PCR methods in determining pfmdr1 gene copy number. Ninety-six blood samples were collected onto filter paper from patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria who attended malaria clinics in the Kanchanaburi (n = 45), Mae Hongson (n = 18), Ranong (n = 11), and Tak (n = 22) provinces in Thailand. Parasite genomic DNA was extracted from dried blood spots by using QIAcube™ automated sample preparation. Pfmdr1 gene copy number was determined by TaqMan (63 samples) and SYBR Green I (96 samples) real-time PCR. Seventy-one (74.0%), 14 (14.6%), 10 (10.4%), and 1 (1%) isolates carried 1, 2, 3, and 4 pfmdr1 gene copies, respectively. Forty-three of 48 (89.6%), 6 of 11 (54.5%), and 3 of 4 (75.0%) samples, respectively, showed agreement with results of 1, 2, and 3 pfmdr1 gene copies as determined by both methods. The efficiency of SYBR Green I in identifying pfmdr1 gene copy number was found to be significantly correlated with that of TaqMan. Considering its simplicity and relatively low cost, SYBR Green I RT-qPCR is therefore a promising alternative technique for the determination of pfmdr1 copy number.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5