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Acta Trop. 2012 Mar;121(3):324-32. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Application of genomics to field investigations of malaria by the international centers of excellence for malaria research.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Success of the global research agenda toward eradication of malaria will depend on development of new tools, including drugs, vaccines, insecticides and diagnostics. Genomic information, now available for the malaria parasites, their mosquito vectors, and human host, can be leveraged to both develop these tools and monitor their effectiveness. Although knowledge of genomic sequences for the malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, have helped advance our understanding of malaria biology, simply knowing this sequence information has not yielded a plethora of new interventions to reduce the burden of malaria. Here we review and provide specific examples of how genomic information has increased our knowledge of parasite biology, focusing on P. falciparum malaria. We then discuss how population genetics can be applied toward the epidemiological and transmission-related goals outlined by the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research groups recently established by the National Institutes of Health. Finally, we propose genomics is a research area that can promote coordination and collaboration between various ICEMR groups, and that working together as a community can significantly advance the value of this information toward reduction of the global malaria burden.

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