Scientists pinpoint gene linked to drug resistance in malaria

Oct 12, 2010

Scientists have shed light on how malaria is able to resist treatment with a leading drug.

Researchers have identified a gene that enables the parasite that causes the infection to resist treatment with the plant-based remedy artemisinin.

In many countries where the parasite has developed resistance to previously effective common treatments such as , artemisinin remains the only effective treatment against the infection. However, malarial resistance to artemisinin appears to be developing, potentially creating problems in controlling malaria.

Identification of this gene paves the way for further studies that could eventually help control the development of resistance to artemisinin and lead to more effective drugs for human malaria.

The study, by scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, used emerging technology to scan the genetic fingerprint of drug resistant parasites that infect rodents. This technology allows rapid identification of that enable the parasite to withstand existing drug treatments.

There are estimated to be between 300 and 500 million cases of malaria each year, occurring in over 90 different countries, according to the World Health Organisation.

Dr Paul Hunt, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, said: "This knowledge from rodent malaria opens up new directions that will allow this gene to be investigated in human . This may help track the evolution of and may eventually enable the design of alternative, effective drugs."

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

More information: The study is published in BMC Genomics.

Related Stories

Rectal artemisinins rapidly eliminate malarial parasites

Mar 28, 2008

Artemisinin-based suppositories can help ‘buy time’ for malaria patients who face a delay in accessing effective, injectable antimalarials, according to research published in the online open access journal BMC Infectious Di ...

Scientists develop new drug treatment for malaria

Aug 16, 2010

As part of the £1.5 million project, researchers are now testing the drug to determine how the treatment could progress to clinical trials. The drug is made from simple organic molecules and will be cheaper to mass produce ...

Recommended for you

Can gene editing provide a solution to global hunger?

1 hour ago

According to the World Food Program, some 795 million people – one in nine people on earth – don't have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That will only get worse with the next global food cris ...

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.