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Parasitology. 1998;116 Suppl:S95-109.

The biology of Plasmodium falciparum transmission stages.

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Wellcome Centre for Epidemiology of Infectious Disease, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK.


The most important function of any parasite is to secure transmission to new hosts. The gametocyte, the stage which has become developmentally committed to the sexual cycle, provides a critical link in the transmission of Plasmodium falciparum from the human host to the anopheline mosquito vector. It is therefore imperative that our determination to understand the biology of the gametocyte is greater than the technical obstacles which have resulted in the gametocyte being left very much out of the limelight by the intensive investigation of the asexual bloodstream parasite. Here we explore the areas of gametocyte biology which by nature of their relevance to control and pathology as well as basic biology, are the subjects of investigation in our laboratory. We also point out areas in need of particular attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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