News of the WeekTROPICAL DISEASE

Misspelled Gene Tames Malaria

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1317-1319
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5597.1317a

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Summary

Researchers have tied malaria resistance to a subtle variation in a single gene that can cut by nearly 90% the risk that an infection will become life-threatening. The gene mutation causes people to ratchet up production of nitric oxide (NO). Previous studies with rodents had found that NO can protect against malaria and a variety of other diseases. But the new study provides some of the best evidence to date that NO plays an important role in disease protection in humans.