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Natural Selection and New Medicine
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Natural Selection and New Medicine

Senegal, West Africa. In 2005, 2 million cases of malaria were recorded from Senegal, a country of 13 million people.

Topic

Malaria

Student Exploration

What's In Your Blood?

Malaria is a major infectious disease with over 300 million new cases each year. That's equivalent to almost the entire population of the USA becoming infected every year. Learn about the latest efforts to understand the parasite which causes the disease, and how genetics is increasing our understanding of malaria.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. How many children die of malaria every year? How many people live in the city you do? How many of these cities would it take to equal the number of children who die annually of malaria?
  2. How does malaria spread in the human body? Why does this make mosquitoes an effective mode of transport?
  3. How has the malaria parasite responded to people being treated with drugs for malaria? How may having molecular information about the parasite help this situation?
  4. Why are blood diseases common in the tropics? How can this situation be explained by natural selection?
  5. What is the major agent of selection on the malaria parasite? How will this information aid in the formation of vaccines?

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