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Penn researchers show new evidence of genetic 'arms race' against malaria
Date:6/9/2011

ation, which means a mutation that occurs on one can be shared with the other."

That aspect of gene conversion may be a key to helping humans in the genetic arms race against malaria.

"The parasite's genome is very highly mutable, and its generation time is short, as compared to humans, so having more mutations more quickly is helpful in keeping up," Ko said. "This is one tool in the arms race. It may not win the war, but it's another way to increase variation."

A better understanding of the interplay between the genes of the malaria parasite and that of its human hosts could also give researchers an artificial advantage drugs or vaccines in the fight against the disease.

"Any new information about how malaria infects cells and how humans have evolved natural defense mechanisms against that infection adds to the body of knowledge about the pathology of malaria," Tishkoff said. "This information could aid in the development of more effective treatments against malaria."


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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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