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The Artful Amoeba

Parasitic Trypanosomes Contain Nature’s Only Chain Mail DNA


The organisms that cause us untold suffering can also be astounding works of art, sculpted by evolution into elegant, deadly packages. Such is the case for the trypanosomes, the protists I discussed last time as the source of Chagas Disease, but which also cause sleeping sickness in Africa. But what lurks inside those little packages [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Americans May Be More at Risk from Deadly Heart Parasite Than Realized


The kissing bug may have the most misleadingly cute name in entomology. It bites, rather than smooches, its victims around the mouth or face. But far worse than the bite itself is what may find its way into it: wriggling worm-like parasitic protists called Trypanosoma cruzi that teem in the feces of these bugs, which [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Blueprints Revealed for a Milk-Making Insect with a Nasty Reputation


African tsetse flies are not pleasant to encounter. Slightly larger than a horse-fly and very aggressive, they fly headlong toward their target at high speed, bounce off, and then search around for a suitable spot to tap it. If they are lucky enough to do so, they inflict a painful bite during which they drink [...]

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