Abstract We conducted a genome-wide association study of host resistance to severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in over 17,000 individuals from 11 malaria-endemic countries, undertaking a wide ranging analysis which identifies five replicable associations with genome-wide levels of evidence. Our findings include a newly implicated variant on chromosome 6 associated with risk of cerebral malaria, and the discovery of an erythroid-specific transcription start site underlying the association in ATP2B4 . Previously reported HLA associations cannot be replicated in this dataset. We estimate substantial heritability of severe malaria ( h 2 ~ 23%), of which around 10% is explained by the currently identified associations. Our dataset will provide a major building block for future research on the genetic determinants of disease in these diverse human populations.
Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network