Rodent malaria parasites (RMPs) serve as tractable tools to study malaria parasite biology and host-parasite-vector interactions. Among the four RMPs originally collected from wild thicket rats in sub-Saharan Central Africa and adapted to laboratory mice, Plasmodium vinckei is the most geographically widespread with isolates collected from five separate locations. However, there is a lack of extensive phenotype and genotype data associated with this species, thus hindering its use in experimental studies.
The study of human malaria caused by species of Plasmodium has undoubtedly been enriched by the use of model systems, such as the rodent malaria parasites originally isolated from African thicket rats.
Malaria parasite resides within the host red blood cells, where it degrades vast amount of haemoglobin.