Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Cure For Malaria

Do you know that the difference between human and chimpanzee genome is only 2% ? That genetic difference involves mostly genes that are related to the immune system, infectious disease and also vulnerability to parasites (Sapolsky, 2006). Chimpanzees are resistant to malaria while we humans are scrambling to find a cure for this epidemic.

Researchers are now trying to understand how chimpanzees are resistant to malaria and use that knowledge to find a cure.

Erica Tassone, a biology graduate student, is currently working on malaria research with Stone and Vellerri for her dissertation project, which she started in fall 2007.

“I look at genes associated with malaria resistance in chimpanzees and see how they’re the same or different from those genes in humans,” Tassone said.

Although Tassone said she is also interested in doing research on how genes act in a cell, her main concentration now is the disease research.

“[I hope] to get a better understanding of how humans and chimpanzees have evolved and developed resistance to diseases,” Tassone said.

Click here to read the full news article.

Sapolsky R. 2006. The 2% Difference. Discovermagazine.com http://discovermagazine.com/2006/apr/chimp-genome/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

No comments: