Human Genetic Variant Linked With Reduced Malaria Risk Identified

by VR Sreeraman on  May 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM Research News
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Scientists have identified a human genetic variant associated with an almost 30 percent reduced risk of developing severe malaria.

Scientists revealed that a variant at the FAS locus could prevent an excessive and potentially hazardous immune response in infected children.
 Human Genetic Variant Linked With Reduced Malaria Risk Identified
Human Genetic Variant Linked With Reduced Malaria Risk Identified

FAS encodes for CD95, a molecule critically involved in the programmed death of some white blood cells. This candidate gene study, including more than 6,000 child subjects, details how a single nucleotide variant of FAS predisposes its carriers to a higher number of immune cells prone to suicide.

These findings indicate that a genetic predisposition to an increased expression of CD95 may help to protect from severe malaria, possibly by rendering a type of white blood cell more susceptible to programmed cell death.

Kathrin Schuldt, co-author, said, "We believe that our study will help to unravel the mechanisms causing the fatal forms of malaria."

The study has been published in the journal PLoS Genetics.

Source: ANI

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