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Plasmodium falciparum

by Greg Crowther


Plasmodium falciparum is the parasite that causes the most deadly form of malaria in humans. This song, which summarizes the parasite's complex life cycle, was written for the 2012 Seattle Parasitology Conference hosted by the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute. The audience may contribute to live performances in a number of ways. For example, they can join in the singing of the chorus, and can make buzzing sounds as an indication of the mosquito stages of the life cycle.


Anopheles mosquitos can feed on human blood;
The gametocytes ingested form gametes in the gut.
Now from the diploid zygotes, the ookinetes arise.
They leave the gut to make oocysts, and then each one divides.

Plasmodium, Plasmodium, Plasmodium falciparum.
Plasmodium, Plasmodium, Plasmodium falciparum.
From mosquito to man and back again.
From mosquito to man and back again.

Sporozoites from the oocysts will circulate around;
The salivary glands are colonized once found.
The mosquitos bite more people; their saliva hits the skin.
Sporozoites find the liver, and promptly go right in.


And from the details of these steps,
We may devise new interventions....

Hepatic cells get hijacked, and then they burst apart.
There's erythrocyte invasion, and chills and fever start.
Rings, trophs, schizonts, merozoites come without a lull;
Gametocyte formation will bring our circle full.

CHORUS (repeat and fade)

Other Files

music video (by Ann Oluloro)

sheet music (with melody play-back)