Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Parasites Make Scaredy-Rats Foolhardy

Science. 2000 Jul 28;289(5479):525b-527b

EVOLUTION: Parasites Make Scaredy-Rats Foolhardy

Zimmer C

In the 7 August issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, researchers offer a striking demonstration of the ability of some parasites to alter the behavior of their hosts for their own benefit. Rats, the intermediate hosts of the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, appear to lose their fear of cats, Toxoplasma's final host, when the parasite infects them. By precisely altering rat brains, the parasite potentially increases its chances of completing its life cycle.

PMID: 17832058 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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