A surprising discovery on Plasmodium falciparum, the Malaria parasite

Abby Rigsbee


Mutations can be harmful but sometimes they can be beneficial, like in the case of sickle cell anemia. Where if you have one mutated hemoglobin gene you are less susceptible to malaria. Like humans, the bacterium, Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, has developed resistance to our methods of killing it. It would seem counterintuitive that mutations in genes that are in charge of DNA repair allow Plasmodium falciparum, to become resistant to anti malaria drugs. However, this is the case. Mutations in the genes that regulate DNA repair cause mutations in the overall genome. Sometimes these mutations allow for drug resistance because they change the targets anti malaria drugs target.


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