Author Topic: Malaria Genome Study Reveals Savvy Parasite that evade human immune defenses  (Read 224 times)

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Offline Naijaloaded

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The malaria parasite owes its devastating success to a finely tuned genome that can survive attacks and evade human immune defenses because it retains only the bare essential genes it needs to thrive, scientists have found.

In a detailed study analyzing more than half the genes in the genome of Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria, researchers found that two-thirds of those genes are essential for survival. This is the largest proportion of essential genes found in any organism studied to date, they said.

The scientists discovered that the parasite often disposes of genes that produce proteins that give its presence away to its host's immune system. This allows malaria to swiftly change its appearance to the human immune system and hence build up resistance to a vaccine, posing problems for the development of effective shots.

"Our study found that below the surface the parasite is more of a Formula 1 race car than a clunky people carrier: The parasite is fine-tuned and retains the absolute essential genes needed for growth," said Julian Rayner, who co-led this study at Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.



 

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