See the World through Microscopic Perspective

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Three studies focus on malaria parasite

Posted by tumicrobiology on December 14, 2006

The US and British scientists have produced three studies that independently characterize the genetic diversity of the parasite that causes malaria.

Two studies focused on Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the Plasmodium species known to cause human malaria, while the other study compares it with the related Plasmodium reichenowi, which infects chimpanzees.

Overall, the scientists say the data constitute a valuable resource that should improve understanding of drug resistance in malaria and identify candidate targets for vaccines.

Dyann Wirth and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health produced a genome-wide map of diversity in P. falciparum, including full sequencing of 16 new and geographically diverse strains and targeted sequencing of 54 other worldwide isolates.

Xin-zhuan Su, Philip Awadalla and colleagues at the U.S. National Institutes of Health focus on sequencing genomic regions coding for proteins within 4 P. falciparum isolates.

In the third study, Manolis Dermitzakis, Matthew Berriman and colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, provide the first sequence of the P. reichenowi strain, as well as the sequence of two P. falciparum strains.

All three papers appear in the January issue of Nature Genetics.

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