Mapping mosquitoes

RESEARCHERS in New York have given a fillip to the fight against malaria by breaking into the genes of the parasite. The scientists report they have made test-tube clones of the 14 chromosomes, which contain the genes of the microbe that mosquitoes transmit to humans. They have also shown the genetic "landmarks" of the chromosomes, hoping this would lead them to the genes.

Now the scientists intend to identify other key genes, such as those that allow the parasite to thrive in diverse hosts, says Jeffrey V Ravetch, head of the three-member team that made the breakthrough. The breakthrough involves the parasite Plasmodium falciparium, one of the four malaria-causing species of protozoa that mosquitoes carry from one human to another.

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