Navigation Links
Sex matters for microbes

Caught in the act! Researchers from the University of Bristol have observed mating for the first time in the microbes responsible for African sleeping sickness. This tropical disease is caused by trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that are found in the blood of those afflicted.

The Bristol team were able to see what the trypanosomes were getting up to inside the tsetse flies that carry the disease by using fluorescent markers [see image link below]. The microscopic beasts were seen twirling and gyrating together before joining up into one hybrid cell. To tell which was which, individual trypanosomes were tagged with different colours, with the result that the hybrid cells had both colours.

Professor Wendy Gibson, who led the research, commented: "It's not only bigger animals that have intricate courtship but you need a powerful microscope to see this!"

Sex matters for microbes because it enables genes to be swapped between different strains, leading to new combinations of genes. In the case of disease-causing microbes like the trypanosome, sex can potentially lead to a lot of harmful genes being combined in one strain. These new results suggest that sex is not an optional or rare part of this microbe's life cycle, but probably happens every time two different trypanosomes find themselves together in the same tsetse fly.

Trypanosomes belong to a strange group of protozoa that includes several other medically important parasites such as Leishmania, Trichomonas and Giardia. In the past, all these microbes were thought to reproduce just by splitting in half, but now results show that they also use sex to swap genes between strains. This research helps scientists understand how new strains of disease-causing microbes arise and how characteristics such as drug resistance get spread between different strains.


Contact: Hannaj Johnson
University of Bristol

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Reproductive Health Matters announces publication of its latest themed issue: New development paradigm
2. Protein quality: It matters
3. Family matters: Evolutionary relationships among species of magic mushrooms shed light on fungi
4. Cat and mouse: A single gene matters
5. Age matters to Antarctic clams
6. How belly fat differs from thigh fat -- and why it matters
7. Probing matters of the heart
8. For the rooster, size matters
9. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
10. Oil- and metal-munching microbes dominate deep sandstone formations
11. Gut microbes affect MicroRNA response to bacterial infection
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, the ... to industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends ... departing the United States , in ... to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance ... the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , ... tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in ... patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection ... for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: