Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Joseph Lorenz

Second Committee Member

R. Steven Wagner

Third Committee Member

Blaise Dondji


There are species of Hepatocystis and Plasmodium, related blood parasites, that enter the cell through a chemokine receptor, coded for by the Duffy antigen/receptor for chemokines in humans, and the FY*0 (FY Null) allele in the promoter of this gene results in the absence of this receptor on the exterior of the cell (Miller et al., 1977; Miller et al., 1975; Miller et al., 1976; Barnwell et al., 1989; Perkins and Schall, 2002; Martinsen et al., 2008; Tung et al., 2009). Humans without the receptor show resistance to multiple strains of Plasmodium (Tournamelle, et al., 1995; Zimmerman, et al. 1999; Michon et al., 2001). Allelic variation at the FY gene, a homologous area in nonhuman primates, impacts resistance to Hepatocystis and Plasmodium infection in some nonhuman primates (Schmidt et al., 1977; Tung et al., 2009; Butcher et al. 2010). The current study looks at the FY promoter region in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops) to see if there are interactions between allelic variation of this gene and Hepatocystis infection. Hepatocystis infection was detected in South African vervet monkeys for the first time, and variation was found in the FY promoter region of vervet monkeys. There were eight nucleotide positions that showed variance, and there were nine different alleles of the FY gene promoter that were found.