World’s first in-depth study of malaria parasite genome completed

February 6th, 2010 - 1:25 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 6 (ANI): Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) School of Biological Sciences have completed the world’s first in-depth study of the malaria parasite genome.

The groundbreaking research could lead to the development of more potent drugs or a vaccine for malaria, which is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes and kills up to three million people each year.

Assistant Professor Zbynek Bozdech and his team of researchers, including graduate students and post-doctorals from SBS’ Division of Genomics & Genetics, made the successful bid by using transcriptional profiling to uncover hitherto unknown gene expression (activity) patterns in malaria.

The research team’s breakthrough made the January 2010 edition of the top-ranked journal, Nature Biotechnology.

Transcriptional profiling is the measurement of the activity of thousands of genes at once, to create a global picture of cellular function.

Plasmodium falciparum - the most deadly form of malaria - responds to existing compounds with curative potential.

The genome or the complete DNA content of the Plasmodium falciparum has about 5,300 genes.

“Drawing on our findings, pharmaceutical companies could explore ways to design a drug that targets the weakest link,” said Asst Prof Bozdech of his research.

“We have predicted all the genes that could be used for a vaccine as well,” he said. (ANI)

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