Variant surface antigens, virulence genes and the pathogenesis of malaria
The first Molecular Approaches to Malaria meeting was held 2-5 February 2000 in Lorne, Australia. Following the meeting, Brian Cooke, Mats Wahlgren and Ross Coppel predicted that research into the molecular details of the mechanisms behind sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes would "become increasingly more complicated, with further interactions, receptors, ligands and functional domains". Furthermore, they cautioned that "the challenge will be not to lose ourselves in the molecular detail, but remain focused on the role of [the var genes and other multigene families] in pathogenesis of malaria". We contemplate on these statements, following the recent second Molecular Approaches to Malaria meeting, which was held at the same venue on 2-5 February 2004.