A perspective article carrying the above title appeared in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene this month. As it was freely accessible I have taken the liberty to attach it to this editorial (hoping the publisher will not come after me...) for those of you that have not seen it.
These days, not only scientists are debating about the existence and potential impact of climate change. Since the mishaps in the fourth assessment report of the IPCC were revealed and received enormous media exposure, even my parents in law (non-scientists) have been asking me about it. Now I wonder when my 3-year old daughter will start casting doubts…
The Pfmsp1 block2 locus presents a very large population sequence diversity. The lack of stable acquisition of novel antibody specificities despite exposure to novel allelic forms is reminiscent of clonal imprinting. The locus appears under antibody-mediated diversifying selection in a variable environment that maintains a balance between the various family types without selecting for sequence variant allelic forms. There is no evidence of positive selection for intra-family sequence diversity, consistent with the observed characteristics of the antibody response.