Exploring a parasitic tunnel boring machine

Lyra Nara Blog

Exploring a parasitic tunnel boring machine

Scanning electron micrograph of an adult whipworm roundworm parasite. Credit: Uta Rössler, Toby Starborg, Allison Bancroft and Richard Grencis, The University of Manchester.

Researchers have deduced essential biological and genetic information from the genome sequence of the whipworm, an intestinal parasitic worm that infects hundreds of millions of people in developing countries.

This information acts as the foundation for the development of new strategies and treatments against this debilitating parasite.

The whipworm is one of three types of soil-transmitted parasitic worms that collectively infect nearly two billion people. While infections often result in mild disease they may also lead to serious and long-term damage such as malnutrition, stunted growth and impaired learning ability. The full extent of worm-associated morbidity and the effect it has on socio-economic development in endemic countries is unknown.

This unusual parasite bores miniature tunnels through the lining of the large intestine where it may live for…

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