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Photo: Scientists Complete Genome Sequence of Fungus Responsible for Dandruff, Skin Disorders
Date:11/5/2007

, Ph.D., a scientist at P&G Beauty and the principal author of the PNAS study. "It's amazing that the understanding of the genetic make-up of a microscopic organism can have broad implications ranging from human health to agricultural science."

Research and Treatment Implications

The family of Malassezia species affects a wide range of human health issues. While M. globosa is related to a host of irritant conditions, other types of Malassezia have been found to be particularly threatening to individuals with early and compromised immune systems, including infants and those suffering from autoimmune diseases. This fungus family also plays a role in skin and respiratory allergies.

Beyond human health, these findings have agricultural implications. M. globosa is also very closely related to multiple common plant pathogenic fungi that cause disease on corn, wheat, and other important food source crops. Comparative genomic studies are now underway that could lead to new strategies for managing these related crop diseases.

"What started as an effort to unlock the mechanism behind dandruff has opened the scientific doors for the development and enhancement of treatments for dandruff and many more Malassezia-related conditions," said James Schwartz, Ph.D. and Research Fellow at P&G Beauty. "These advances were made possible through collaboration among multiple institutions and subject experts, and we're excited that our findings may benefit multiple disciplines and specialties."

Malassezia is a culprit in conditions mild to severe, but almost nothing was understood at the molecular level before this research. The genetic sequencing of M. globosa has expanded the range of potential treatment targets from a few observational characteristics to now more than 4,000 molecular targets.

Science Behind the Sequencing

The genomic sequencing was made possible by DNA sequencing technologies developed within the last decade. Scientists p
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SOURCE P&G Beauty
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