The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chimpanzee Malaria DNA is Older

by Chelsea Jobe

Malaria infects up to 500 million people each year, and kills 1 million to 3 million, as there is no effective vaccine. Nathan Wolfe is a virus and pathogen hunter, and his prey for more than ten years has been malaria, one of the biggest killers out there. While in Cameroon his team recently made a discovery that an older form of malaria came from chimpanzees and what made it jump from chimpanzees to humans was a mosquito, the most common carrier of the disease. They tested 94 chimpanzees in captivity that were all infected with the disease and teased out the genetic structure of the chimpanzee malaria and then compared it with the DNA structure of human malaria. The chimpanzee malaria DNA was much older and more diverse. Malaria is a real biological menace since it grows and changes so rapidly, and there has never been an effective malaria vaccine. That is why this discovery is so important. To create a vaccine you have to understand the genetics of it and know where it came from. We now know that it came across a few thousand years ago from chimpanzees, so it’s a start. This discovery has just really opened new doors for the process of creating a malaria vaccine and given new hope to the people who suffer from it every year.

I’m really happy they made this discovery and that we now have the technology to dive that deeply into DNA strands to use the information to effectively help save lives. It might not seem that important right now but it could really be a stepping stone into finding a vaccine for this disease that kills millions a year. I hope that this discovery will really help us find a cure quickly if it’s possible. Not having a cure for malaria has been a huge scientific problem that has not yet been solved and really needs to be.


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