Friday, March 20, 2015

Malarial marrow

A Yale University team has developed a new method to identify malaria in the bone marrow of ancient human remains. It is the first time researchers have been able to establish a diagnostic, human skeletal profile for the disease, which still infect millions of people a year. Identifying hemozoin, the polymer produced by the parasite that causes malaria, may allow scientists to track the spread of malaria back to its first appearance in human populations. Jamie Inwood, team leader and graduate student in archaeology, explains, “The data set we build with this will be revolutionary for establishing the epidemiological curve for malaria in ancient societies. By understanding how this parasite reacted to societal shifts in the past, we can aid in predicting its future behavior. We can understand the way it has evolved.”

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