Malaria parasite takes its time

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The pathogens want to benefit as long as possible from the food supply that life in the vector mosquitoes offers them

Malaria parasites develop in the mosquito gut and take their time before being t
Malaria parasites develop in the mosquito gut and take their time before being transmitted to humans. In this microscope image of a dissected mosquito gut, the parasites can be easily recognized as yellow dots. © MPI f. Infection Biology

Instead of being transmitted to humans as quickly as possible, malaria parasites develop in mosquitoes for up to twelve days and even run the risk of not being transmitted. Mathematical modelling allowed  researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin to study the evolution of malaria parasites over hundreds of generations. By this, they identified the mosquito’s nutrient supply as the driving factor behind the long development time.

The malaria parasite is a master of adaptation. To complete its life cycle, the parasite must be transmitted from a mosquito to a human and then back to a mosquito again. ...

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