October 9, 2008
Genetic Code of Malaria Parasite Sequenced
A U.S.-led team of scientists has identified the complete genetic sequence of a parasite that is the leading cause of relapsing malaria.
Working at The Institute for Genomic Research/J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., the scientists studied the parasite Plasmodium vivax. Unlike three other species of Plasmodium that cause malaria, the researchers said P. vivax cannot be grown in the laboratory, severely limiting its scientific study.
More than 2.6 billion people, mostly in Asia and Latin America, risk infection from P. vivax, the scientists said.
The researchers say knowing the parasite's genetic sequence will help scientists learn the genetic diversity of P. vivax and understand the problems of drug resistance and relapse.
The study appears in the journal Nature.