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Researchers Trace Origins of Malaria

MALARIA MOSQUITO HEAD, Getty Images(IRVINE, Calif.) -- Researchers at the University of California, Irvine think they know how malaria jumped continents may years ago.

The study, which will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, traced the origins of the mosquito-borne disease back to the 16th century.

Researchers in Irvine say they relied on DNA as a molecular clock appearing to answer how malaria got from Africa to South America and then the rest of the Americas. The team of researchers say the disease, which kills over a million people a year, came aboard Spanish and Portuguese slave ships in the 16th century.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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