Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Malaria evolves in Madagascar.

One of the 4 strains of malaria, called Plasmodium vivax (P vivax), has evolved in Madagascar to cause the disease in a large group of people previously thought to be protected from this strain.

People with a blood type called Duffy-negative (one of 30 blood types) were thought to get P vivax in their liver, where it did not cause any health problems, but it could not cross into red blood cells, where it causes all the symptoms of malaria.

However, Professor Peter A Zimmerman has found that P vivax has now evolved to cross the barrier and cause malaria in Duffy-negative people in Madagascar.

Duffy-negative is predominant in most African ethnic groups, and so this opens up west, central and southern Africa to the evolved strain.

Zimmerman suggests P vivax has evolved first in people with a mixed ethnic background of Duffy-negative (Africa) and Duffy-positive (South-east Asia), a common background in Madagascar.

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April 14, 2010 - Posted by | Evolution, Health, Malaria, Peter A Zimmerman, Science

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