• June 10, 2011
  • Penn Researchers Show New Evidence of Genetic "Arms Race" Against Malaria

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PHILADELPHIA — For tens of thousands of years, the genomes of malaria parasites and humans have been at war with one another, each involving an attempt to get the upper hand. Scientists have now performed a genetic analysis of 15 ethnic groups across Africa, in an effort to identify gene variants that could explain differing local susceptibility to malaria. "Both host and the parasite try to fight back with mutations; it's a co-evolution arms-race that leaves a signature of selection on the genes," says Wen-Ya Ko, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine. "We've identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms that are candidates for that signature." The international team was led by Sarah Tishkoff PhD, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor with appointments in the Genetics Department in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and the Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. Their research was published online in the American Journal of Human Genetics. For full release and related image, please visit: www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-researchers-show-new-evidence-genetic-arms-race-against-malaria.

 

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