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Hum Mol Genet. 2002 Oct 1;11(20):2469-78.

Susceptibility to malaria as a complex trait: big pressure from a tiny creature.

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Department of Biochemistry, McGill Cancer Center, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Malaria, which is a major infectious disease worldwide, is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, one of the longest-known parasites infecting humans. The malaria situation is complicated by the emergence of drug resistance and the lack of an effective vaccine. Genetic factors play a key role in disease susceptibility, progression and outcome. Interestingly, an increasing large number of polymorphisms associated with resistance and susceptibility in humans have been found in proteins from erythrocytes, the site of Plasmodium replication. Some of these deleterious alleles have been selected by direct genetic pressure from the parasite in endemic areas of malaria. A number of additional gene effects have been mapped both in humans and in mice using population studies and experimental models of malaria, respectively. These recent studies have started to reveal additional aspects of the complex host-parasite interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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