Saturday, September 5, 2009


John Milton’s famous defense of divorce on grounds of incompatibility emphasizes “meet and happy conversation” as the central goal of marriage and notes that marriage ought to fulfill not simply bodily drives but also the “intellectual and innocent desire” that leads people to want to talk a lot to each other. People are entitled to demand this from their marriages, he argues, and entitled to divorce if they do not find it. If we adopt Milton’s view, we should not see divorce as expressing (necessarily) a falling away from high moral ideals but rather an unwillingness to put up with a relationship that does not fulfill, or at least seriously pursue, high ideals.


Read what I write below and guess the connect!

Malaria, a vector (insects or germs that carry germs from one species to another), is a dreaded disease where mosquitoes develop resistance to new drugs as easily as politicians change color.

Although some are under development, no vaccine is currently available for malaria that provides a high level of protection; preventive drugs must be taken continuously to reduce the risk of infection. These prophylactic [vaccine-based] drug treatments are often too expensive for most people living in endemic areas. Most adults from endemic areas have a degree of long-term infection, which tends to recur, and also possess partial immunity (resistance); the resistance reduces with time, and such adults may become susceptible to severe malaria if they have spent a significant amount of time in non-endemic areas.

In fact, the most drug-resistant plasmodium malaria parasites and mosquitoes are more likely to survive and reproduce. But two ingenious methods have been devised to halt that reproduction. An evolutionary biologist at University of Pennsylvania, Andrew Read devised a method to target and kill older mosquitoes, which are at the fag end of their life and are more likely the vectors. Use slow-killing insecticides to stop malaria transmission, as mosquitoes can't pass on the parasite until it has grown inside them for two weeks, almost a lifetime to a mosquito.

Crucially, using a model, Read found that such an approach is "evolution proof": mosquitoes never evolve resistance to slow-acting insecticides because both resistant and susceptible insects have the same chance of laying eggs, removing the selection pressure favoring resistant mosquitoes.

This means kill the aged, to let the young reproduce but with low resistance and even keep the infection rates low.

Another approach focuses on killing malarial parasite, which jumps from one red blood cell to another, killing it in the process. Traditionally, researchers have focused on keeping malaria from entering cells in the first place. But now University of Pennsylvania biochemist, Doron Greenbaum has found a way to lock malaria inside the cells by blocking the action of a key host protein, calpain that allows its escape.

In the evolutionary arms race, to defeat the disease, subtle and indirect maneuvers like these may ultimately prove most effective. Tweaking the evolutionary journey to cut short parasite life and prolong human life, so to say.

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