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Jul 05, 2016 08:29 AM EDT

New York University Department Of Biology Professor Leads A Study That Reveal Global, Evolving And Historic Make-Up Of Malaria Species!

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A group of scientists recently discovered the global, developing and remarkable make-up of Plasmodium vivax, one among the five species of malaria that infect humans.

The research associates the spread of the parasite back to colonial seafaring, in addition to other development and accentuates the problems faced by health experts while controlling the parasite.

According to Jane Carlton, a professor in New York University's Department of Biology, Plasmodium vivax will be the last existing malaria parasite.

Carlton, who led the study, noted that in their findings the team of scientists discovered that the parasite is evolving in response to anti-malarial drugs and is also getting accustomed to regional differences. This clearly indicates that an array of techniques will likely be essential to get rid of it globally.

Daniel Neafsey, who co-led the study, generated the data, and serves as associate director of the Genomic Center for Infectious Disease at the Broad Institute noted that the DNA data reveals that P. vivax has had a contrasting history of connection with global human populations as compared to other malaria parasites.

This indicates that uncommon aspects of its biology may have led the ways in which it spreads around the globe, according to a post on New York University official website.

P. vivax is behind approximately 15.8 million clinical malaria cases every year. However, it remains understudied considering that it is less lethal as compared to other species and citing the fact that it has been tough to analyze because it cannot be grown in the lab. But that's not all, separating the parasite's DNA from human DNA posses another challenge.

Researchers arranged about 200 DNA samples of P. vivax that were collected from patients in order - the largest number of P. vivax genomes arranged in a sequence to date - in 11 countries, including Thailand, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Mexico, India, Colombia and Brazil. The scientists successfully separated P. vivax DNA from its human host by employing a set of one-of-a-kind 'sticky baits' that nabbed the parasite DNA, allowing the human DNA to be washed away, ScienceNewsline reported.

The team of scientists collected patient samples via the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research - a global network of self-supporting research centers in malaria-endemic environment that offer tools, knowledge and evidence-based approach to support in-country researchers who are working in varied settings, particularly within governments and healthcare institutions.

The sequencing of the parasite's genome led to a slew of new understanding of the nature of P. vivax as it exists today. In addition, it also acted as a genetic history book of the studied areas:

  • Central and South American P. vivax populations are inherently different and discrete from all other contemporary P. vivax populations.
  • Modern African and South Asian P. vivax populations are genetically identical.
  • Mexico P. vivax show relatively homogeneous genetic makeup, reflecting a constant decline of the disease in the country over the last decade.
  • The Papua New Guinea (PNG) population of P. vivax is extremely diverse as compared to other P. vivax populations.
  • P. vivax is more genetically different as compared to the deadlier malaria species P. falciparum.
  • Resistant forms of two genes linked with antimalarial drug resistance have cleared through the global population.
  • Numerous genes were recognized as adjusting to regional changes in the human host and mosquito vector.

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