The generation of sexually committed parasites (gametocytogenesis) is poorly understood in malaria. If the mechanisms regulating this process were elucidated, new opportunities for blocking malaria transmission could be revealed. Here we compare several methods described previously for the in vitro production of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes. Our approach relies on the combination of several factors that we demonstrated as impacting on or being critical to gametocytogenesis. An improved method has been developed for the in vitro production of P. falciparum gametocytes as the first step toward obtaining adequate numbers of pure gametocytes for in vitro studies, such as, for example, the identification of transmission blocking drugs.
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