Even single-celled organisms wish to have partners from time to time. Single-celled parasites that lead to infections of the internal organs and skin, Leishmania, have long been recognized to grow asexually, such as bacteria. But irregularly, scientists have discovered hybrid parasites that have genetic material from a number of strains—or even a number of species—of Leishmania, recommending that some type of genetic mixing is in progress.
Now, scientists at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and in St. Louis at Washington University School of Medicine have discovered that the parasites of hybrid Leishmania can mate with each other to make fertile children that have genes from both cells. These are signs of an actual sexual reproductive cycle. The scientists expect to employ their genetic remixing as a method to know which genes are comprised in Leishmanial disease in virulence.
“What we require to know is why one strain leads to a mild kind of disease and different one leads to a lethal kind, or how the parasites avoid the immune reaction,” claimed Stephen Beverley, co-senior author and a professor at the School of Medicine for molecular microbiology. “By creating offspring with various properties, we can verify the genes that lead to immune resistance or severe disease. That can be a step toward prevention or better treatment.”
On a related note, a group of UK researchers have verified the mechanism responsible for hardening of the arteries, and displayed in animal surveys that a generic medicine usually employed to cure acne can be an effectual cure for the condition.
The group, spearheaded by the King’s College London and University of Cambridge, discovered that a molecule once believed only to be present within cells for the purpose of mending DNA is also accountable for arteries’ hardening, which is related with heart disease, dementia, stroke, and high blood pressure.