The Fulani people in Africa are one example of this. In a dissertation at the Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Elisabeth Israelsson presents some important genetic differences between the Fulani and other peoples that live in the same area that may be of great importance for the development of effective protection against malaria.
The Fulani in Africa have a different genetic signature in the genes that affect how quickly and effectively the immune system can act to build up resistance to malaria. The differences between the Fulani and other peoples included in the study were clear among Fulani in both Mali and Sudan. The two groups have been separated for more than a hundred years and have differing genetic make-up, although both groups continue to evince low susceptibility to malaria. The similarities that have now been discovered in certain variations in both Fulani groups indicate that they arose at an early stage in the history of the Fulani and proved to be so beneficial in defending them against malaria that they have persisted in this ethnic group.
"What's more, we see an effect of these differences in the levels of antibodies and parasites, so we believe that these differences are important and that they can help us understand what happens with the immune system in a malaria infection," says Elisabeth Israelsson.
It is crucial to develop antibodies against the malaria parasite to be able to resist malaria infection. It is therefore important to understand the mechanisms that influence the levels of antibodies. Among the Fulani, examinations show that they have more antibodies and a more active immune system than other African peoples living in the same area.
"If we can understand why certain individuals can produce more and/or more effective antibodies, we can also try to create new medicines or develop a new vaccine against malaria," says Elisabeth Israelsson.
Malaria has existed as long as human beings have, and the disease has left traces in our genes that can be seen today. In her dissertation, Elisabeth Israelsson studied the minor genetic differences in genes that can be important to the immune system in a malaria infection. In particular, she looked at the difference between ethnic groups that have varying degrees of susceptibility to malaria.
The findings of the dissertation show that there are differences between the Fulani and other ethnic groups. Among other things, the genes that control how vigorously and rapidly the immune system reacts to an infection are not identical. And there is also a difference in some of the genes that govern the development of antibodies against malaria infection. The dissertation also shows that checking the immune reaction is important, since such examinations may indicate paths for new vaccine models and/or treatments for malaria.
Title of dissertation: Host genetic factors and antibody responses with potential involvement in the susceptibility to malaria. The dissertation is available for downloading as a PDF at: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8301
The public defense will take place at 10.00 a.m. on November 28, 2008, in Nordenskiöld Hall, Geoscience's Building, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm. The external examiner is Professor Jean Langhorne, National Institute for Medical Research, Division of Parasitology, United Kingdom. The defense will be held in English.Further information
Jonas Åblad | alfa
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy