Sunday, 20 November 2011

"The Origins and Evolution of Human Malaria"

If you're a PhD student, a Masters student, a lab technician, a responsible undergrad or a person with a keen interest in the last facts unveiled by science you are then fully aware of how important seminars are in your life. Not only important, they are also vital. Your superiors expect you to keep track on whatever is coming out, take a sneak peek, get in contact with the latest and upgrade your brains. Eventually, the day after tomorrow will take you there, to that special place where tens of people will wait for you to bring the best of your communication skills to that interface PPslides + your oral skills can offer on a late afternoon. If you succeed the audience will leave the room straight to the crisps and beverages with a smile on their face and your topic in their lips, on the other hand they will show relief in their facial expressions and yawns escaping their mouths.

To celebrate the compulsory going to seminars when the obligation luckily meets my best expectations, I decided to create yet another label in The Toxicologist Today - Seminars -, a label that will reproduce the most important facts of the very best talks I'll go to in the coming 4 years. Because of the poor light conditions and the complicated handwriting under dark environment, I must admit that I struggled to write everything I really wanted, but the core is here and the 1st talk listened to, by The Toxicologist Today, was very interesting! Note: Access the speaker's name for full CV.


Title: The origins and evolution of human malaria
Institute of evolutionary biology and Centre for immunity, infection and evolution
Venue: QMC, C15 seminar room, University of Nottingham


  • Collected faeces from chimpanzees and Bonobos from West and Central Africa
  • Question presented - Will nucleic acids be present in faecal samples?
  • There are 5 different species of plasmodium causing malaria, mainly from
P. falciparum - Africa
P. virax - Asia
P. malariae - Africa
P. ovale - Africa
P. knowlesi - South-east Asia (macaques)

  • Gorillas are actually infected by P. falciparum
  • Bonobos are not the origin of malignant malaria
  • Analised faecal samples from wild apes and used single genome amplification (from mitochondrial DNA)
  • His team believe that there are 6 lineages and host-specific ones.
  • Human P. falciparum cluster lies within the radiation of gorilla sequences.
  • There are indeed 6 to 7 species within the subgenus Laverania.
  • Transmission dynamics is too weak for survival in hunter gatherers.
  • Transmission to humans started approximately 10000 years ago (Carter and Mendis, 2007) and this article also states that a mutation in haemoglobin C confers resistance to malaria.


  • Chimpanzees and Gorillas have very high prevalence of plasmodium - mostly multiply infected (similar to humans in areas of hyper endemicity)
  • Plasmodium falciparum is originally transmitted to humans from gorillas.
Hope you've enjoyed this brand new label and the subject brought here, of interest. See you soon and try not to get bitten!

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