Malaria research in the post-genomic era.
For many pathogens the availability of genome sequence, permitting genome-dependent methods of research, can partially substitute for powerful forward genetic methods (genome-independent) that have advanced model organism research for decades. In 2002 the genome sequence of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite causing the most severe type of human malaria, was completed, eliminating many of the barriers to performing state-of-the-art molecular biological research on malaria parasites. Although new, licensed therapies may not yet have resulted from genome-dependent experiments, they have produced a wealth of new observations about the basic biology of malaria parasites, and it is likely that these will eventually lead to new therapeutic approaches. This review will focus on the basic research discoveries that have depended, in part, on the availability of the Plasmodium genome sequences.