Human genetic variation and malaria
Our human projects are the outputs from the MalariaGEN Consortium. This was the first step in working within an international collaborative framework to build large scale high quality data resources to answer specific questions.
Established in 2005, the underlying scientific aim of the Consortium was to identify and better understand the changes in a person's DNA that could help protect them from developing severe malaria. The lessons learnt about what worked, and what didn't, still resonate through all MalariaGEN activities.
Establishing the MalariaGEN Consortium
When we first started studying the human genome, we knew that a person’s risk of developing severe malaria is influenced by many different genetic and environmental factors, but we knew relatively little about their precise nature and how they interact. Scientific studies at the time were small and isolated and findings were difficult to replicate. The MalariaGEN Consortium aimed to undertake the largest experiement at the time to understand why, in regions where people are repeatedly exposed to malaria parasites, some people die from the infection while others survive. To do this the consortium would need to come together, to unify of specific questions, and agree a framework that meet the requirements of the funder in terms of open data but also the requirements of the partners who would need to invest over several years to get their output.
To achieve this ambitious goal the MalariaGEN consortium united around 4 projects, each tackling an element of the problem. The consortium collectively agreed Importantly, questions that it established as projects
Integrating an Ethics Programme into a Data Sharing Network
Developing Capacity in Malaria Endemic Countries
Data Fellows in each country
Increasing usability and utility of Genetic Data
Well curated, brought together large resource
What we've done
- Established an international data-sharing network with capacity building in data analysis for researchers in malaria-endemic countries
- Built the largest clinical dataset for genetic studies of resistance to severe malaria (11,890 cases of severe malaria and 17,441 healthy controls)
- Led an innovated programme of ethics research
- Published the first genome-wide association (GWAS) of an African population, as well as the largest-ever study of genetic variants associated with cases of severe malaria
- Discovered genes that help to protect African children from developing severe malaria