A new genetically distinct subgroup of mosquitoes has been identified in sub-Saharan Africa that displays different behaviors and has a higher susceptibility to the malaria parasite than the traditionally-studied type. The linkurl:finding,;http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/596 published online today (February 3) in Science, may provide a clue as to why malaria eradication in the dry sub-Sahara has proven so difficult.
Anopheles gambiae, the mosquito species studied
Image: Wikimedia commons, James D. Gathany
"This is a very thought-provoking paper," said vector transmission biologist linkurl:Carolina Barillas Mury;http://www.niaid.nih.gov/labsandresources/labs/aboutlabs/lmvr/mosquitoimmunityvectorcompetenceunit/Pages/barillasMury.aspx of the National Institutes of Health, who was not involved in the research. "If this turns out to be true, it would mean that there might be other mosquitoes in this area -- a subpopulation that has very different behavior -- and we're not finding them.""This is an area that has been worked relatively well by some of the most influential and excellent people in the field,"...
PlasmodiumPlasmodiumRiehle, M.M. et al., "A Cryptic Subgroup of Anopheles gambiae Is Highly Susceptible to Human Malaria Parasite," Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1196759, 2011

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