Genomic and genetic analysis tools have been used to understand many parasites that infect humans. Malaria is one such disease caused by parasites that these tools have been applied to. Malaria is a mosquito-born disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. The life cycle of malaria involves both humans and the Anopheles mosquito.
The four species of parasite that infect humans are Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malaria. P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most prevalent in human infections. P. falciparum is the most severe and fatal species, causing an estimated 700,000 to 2.7 million deaths annually. Young children in Africa bear most of the burden of mortality.