RESEARCHERS at Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) School of Biological Sciences have completed the world's first in-depth study of the malaria parasite genome, which could lead to a cure for malaria.
The research team led by assistant professor Zbynek Bozdech comprises graduate and post-graduate students from the school's division of genomics & genetics, who have used transcription profiling to uncover gene activity patterns in malaria that was previously unknown.
Transcription polling is the measurement of the activity of thousands of genes at once, to create a global picture of cellular function.
These profiles can, for example, distinguish between cells that are actively dividing, or show how the cells react to a particular treatment.
This research is an advancement in the search for a malaria cure since the research team has predicted all the genes that could be used for a vaccine, explained Prof Bozdech.
The team's research achievement landed them an article in the January 2010 edition of top-ranked journal Nature Biotechnology, which is a satellite publication of Nature, the world's leading peer-reviewed journal.
Researchers at Germany's renowned institute for tropical diseases, the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI), validated the research findings, which are expected to provide exciting new insight into parasite biology.
According to the head of malaria research at BNI, Dr Tim Gilberger, the successful NTU-BNI joint project which has led to the creation of the world's first database to predict the functions of more than 2,500 genes of the malaria parasite, 'would be useful to scientists around the world who are developing new vaccines and drugs'.
This article was first published in The Business Times.