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Although methods are fundamental to all forms of research, their descriptions used to be considered deadpan and unattractive for renowned scientic journals. Thus, seminal methodological breakthroughs commonly were hiding behind titles of publications describing the result of a first application. Nearly fifteen years ago, however, a prestigious publishing house took the risk of launching a purely methodological journal, which meanwhile belongs to the most highly cited and most influential journals in natural sciences. Not surprisingly, since pioneering methods usually are applied frequently, may open entire fields of research and, accordingly, are cited many times. An example is found on the following page: the method is put ahead, and a quite remarkable result is set behind.
Infections with the Zika virus often take such a mild course that the persons don’t notice that they are infected. If, however, pregnant women are affected the virus can cause severe child malformations. In these cases, a reliable diagnosis is of utmost importance.
Clinical studies occasionally yield conflicting results for the same objective. For example, there have been studies indicating that patients with malaria come down with life-threatening salmonella blood-stream infections both more frequently and less frequently than patients without concomitant malaria. Together with international colleagues, we have shown that such contradictions result from differences in study designs.
Genetic modification of Plasmodium falciparum is still very tedious and time consuming as standard procedures to achieve integration of DNA into the parasites’ genomes are very inefficient. We have developed a new method, which allows manipulating the genes of P. falciparum like building blocks, to analyse the function of the en-coded proteins.