Scientists Identify Gene Variations Responsible For Lowering Risk Of Severe Malaria Among Some African Children

News outlets report on findings published in the journal Nature identifying genes among some African children that could lower their risk of developing severe malaria.

The Guardian: Scientists identify genes reducing risk of severe malaria by 40%
“Genes have been identified in African children that reduce their risk of contracting severe malaria by up to 40 percent. The locus, or position of the resistant genes on the genome, was found near a cluster of genes called glycophorins, which are involved in the malaria parasite’s invasion of red blood cells…” (Siddique, 9/30).

Reuters: Scientists find genes that protect African children from malaria
“…In the largest study of its kind, the researchers said identifying the variations in DNA at a specific location, or locus, on the genome helps explain why some children develop severe malaria and others don’t in communities where people are constantly exposed to the mosquito-borne disease. In some cases, they said, having a specific genetic variation almost halves a child’s risk of developing a life-threatening case of the disease…” (Kelland, 9/30).

Washington Post: The genes behind malaria resistance may reveal an intriguing evolutionary history
“…The research was done by MalariaGEN, an international network of scientists and clinicians spread across Africa, Asia, and other malaria-endemic regions of the world, which is funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust. The study is one of the largest ever of its kind, using over 20,000 samples from eight different African populations…” (Feltman, 9/30).

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