News Brief

PHILADELPHIA — For tens of thousands of years, the genomes of malaria parasites and humans have been at war with one another, each involving an attempt to get the upper hand. Scientists have now performed a genetic analysis of 15 ethnic groups across Africa, in an effort to identify gene variants that could explain differing local susceptibility to malaria. "Both host and the parasite try to fight back with mutations; it's a co-evolution arms-race that leaves a signature of selection on the genes," says Wen-Ya Ko, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine. "We've identified several single-nucleotide polymorphisms that are candidates for that signature." The international team was led by Sarah Tishkoff PhD, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor with appointments in the Genetics Department in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and the Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. Their research was published online in the American Journal of Human Genetics. For full release and related image, please visit:


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.