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Malaria parasite reveals old age

A new genetic analysis of the malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum has thrown into question the origin and evolution of the deadly parasite.

From several recent studies, some biologists had concluded that the mosquitoborne parasite first began killing significant numbers of people within the past 12,000 years or so. This complemented DNA studies of P. falciparum that suggested that the modern form of the parasite had arisen around that time (SN: 11/10/01, p. 296: The Seeds of Malaria).

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