PerspectiveInfectious Diseases

A roadmap for malaria research

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Science  23 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 753-754
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay5963

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Summary

Although malaria is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases worldwide, causing almost half a million deaths from 219 million cases annually (1), the protozoan parasites that cause malaria remain relatively uncharacterized at the molecular level. Given the few individuals who work directly on malaria parasite molecular biology, high-throughput, low-cost methods are particularly attractive for determining the function of ∼6000 genes encoded by the malaria parasite genome. On page 774 of this issue, Howick et al. (2) present a functional genomics analysis of various malaria parasite species, performing single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on thousands of parasites as well as parasite-infected cells. This rich dataset can be used to find new therapeutic candidates as well as to better understand transcriptional control networks.

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