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UC Riverside, UW Join in 3D Study of Malaria Parasite's Genome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Research partners at the University of Washington and the University of California, Riverside have netted $2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to study the genome of the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria, UC Riverside said on Wednesday.

The investigators plan to look for changes in the 3D structure of the genome of Plasomodium that could help shed light on its life cycle, which requires both human and mosquito tissues at different stages. The partners plan to look specifically at changes in the genome during Plasmodium's erythrocytic cycle, its pathogenic phase in vertebrates, which is a 48-hour cycle that can repeat for several days or weeks in humans.

"There are a few publications on the 3D structure of the yeast and human genomes under particular conditions, but no one has so far analyzed the 3D structure of an organism's genome's during its cell cycle progression," Karine Le Roch, UC Riverside's principal investigator on the grant, said in a statement.

The partners will use the 3D structure data their study yields in combination with new genome-wide data sets to develop a computational 3D model that will help them understand how parasite genes are regulated.

"By providing fundamental insight into the regulatory mechanisms of Plasmodium, this project will improve our ability to design new drugs and novel lines of defense against malaria," Le Roch explained.