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Malaria susceptibility differs between Fulani and Dogon ethnic groups in Mali

Earlier this month, researchers at The Malaria Research and Training Centre, University of Bamako, Mali working in collaboration with the MalariaGEN Consortium, published a paper titled “Human Candidate Polymorphisms in Sympatric Ethnic Groups Differing in Malaria Susceptibility in Mali.”

News 15 Oct 2013
Human
Town meeting. Photo courtesy of Abdoulaye Djimdé.

The research focuses on how susceptibility to malaria differs between the Fulani and Dogon ethnic groups in Mali. Though the two groups share similar social and cultural habits, and their malaria prevalence rates are on a par, although the Fulani have lower parasite densities and seem to suffer less with the disease than their Dogon counterparts.

The researchers analysed genetic polymorphisms from malaria-associated genes using data collected during two cross sectional studies conducted in different years during different transmission levels. The findings support that there is reduced malaria susceptibility in the Fulani, and that there is a higher number of individuals with the protective O-blood type. Other SNP allele frequency differences between the Fulani and Dogon were found in CD36, IL4, RTN3 and ADCY9. Moreover, polymorphisms in FCER1A, RAD50, TNF, SLC22A4, and IL13 genes were correlated with antibody production.

Publication

Maiga et al. Human Candidate Polymorphisms in Sympatric Ethnic Groups Differing in Malaria Susceptibility in Mali. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 2;8(10):e75675. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075675. eCollection 2013.