This book was originally conceived at a conference at the University of Turin in Italy. The conference was organized to examine the so-called "e;Malaria Hypothesis"e;, that is to say, the higher fitness of t- lassemia heterozygotes in a malarial environment, and to pay tribute to the proponent of that hypothesis, J.B.S. Haldane. Contributors to this book examine certain genetic and evolutionary aspects of malaria which is a major killer of human populations, especially in Africa and Asia. There were attempts to discredit Haldane's contribution from two directions: (a) it has been suggested that the "e;Malaria Hypothesis"e; was known long before Haldane and that there was nothing original about his idea (Lederberg 1999), and that (b) the hypothesis of heterozygote su- riority was first suggested by the Italian biologist Giuseppe Montalenti who communicated his idea to Haldane (Allison 2004). Surely, both c- not be right. In fact, the evidence presented in this book clearly indicates that both are wrong. Haldane's malaria hypothesis has stimulated a great deal of research on the genetic, evolutionary and epidemiological aspects of malaria d- ing the last 50 years. It has opened up a whole new chapter in the study of infectious diseases. It deserves serious consideration. For helpful discussions we thank Lucio Luzzatto, Alberto Piazza, Guido Modiano and David Roberts.
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