Research NewsEvolution

How the Malaria Parasite Manipulates Its Hosts

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Science  10 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5336, pp. 223
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5336.223

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Contradicting the long-standing belief that malaria doesn't harm its mosquito hosts, researchers reported at a recent meeting that the parasite has evolved the ability to make the mosquitoes bite recklessly, boosting the parasite's chances of being transmitted, but also increasing the insects' chances of dying in action. Other research showed that in a mammalian host, too, the parasite is responding to evolutionary pressures as it faces a trade-off between being transmitted quickly and killing the host first.