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Evolution of Malaria Resistance in Primates
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Evolution of Malaria Resistance in Primates

July 27, 2010
Humans and baboons share similar evolutionary histories and environments in the East African savanna. Parallel evolution has also been demonstrated in how variation of the Duffy gene affects their respective resistance or susceptibility to infection by malaria parasites. The mechanism is well-known in humans: when the Duffy gene is "on," it builds receptors on the surface of red blood cells, allowing malaria parasites to land; when the gene is "off," there is no infection.