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Review
, 141 (3), 276-86

Genetic Variation and Susceptibility to Infection: The Red Cell and Malaria

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Review

Genetic Variation and Susceptibility to Infection: The Red Cell and Malaria

D J Weatherall. Br J Haematol.

Abstract

There is now convincing evidence that the extremely high frequencies of certain genetic disorders of the red cell involving haemoglobin, the red-cell membrane, or its metabolic pathways reflect relative resistance to malaria over thousands of years. At least some progress has been made towards an understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved, although much remains to be learnt. As well as the extremely valuable information that this field is providing about how exposure to infection has moulded the current structure of the human genome, recent research in this field is starting to provide some valuable new approaches to the better control of parasitic and other infections that remain a major global health problem.

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