Newly discovered gene mutation offers malaria defense like sickle cell – latimes.comPosted: September 7, 2012
A team of researchers led by geneticist Ivo Mueller of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Parkville, Australia, and the Barcelona Center for International Health Research in Spain studied a genetic disorder called Southeast Asian Ovalocytosis or SAO, which causes red blood cells to become elliptical in shape or rod-shaped.
One copy of the gene produces mild disease, while two copies are generally lethal. Previous studies have shown that the carrier or trait form of the disorder, with one mutated gene, provides some protection against P. falciparum. Now Mueller and his colleagues have demonstrated that the mutation provides significant protection against P. vivax.