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New genomics technique could improve treatment and control of malaria

Single-cell genomics could provide new insight into the biology of malaria parasites (including their virulence and levels of drug resistance) to ultimately improve treatment and control of the disease, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.

The findings are revealed in a study led by Shalini Nair and Ian Cheeseman at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and published today in the journal 'Genome Research'.

Malaria infections commonly contain complex mixtures of Plasmodium parasites, which cause the disease. These mixtures, known as multiple genotype infections (MGIs), can alter the impact of the infection owing to parasites competing with one another and can drive the spread of drug resistance. MGIs are extremely common in regions with high levels of malaria infection, but their biology is poorly understood.

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