Unusual hybrid schistosomes in Malawi

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RESEARCHERS from the UK and Malawi have described the unusual occurrence of novel schistosome (parasitic worm) hybrids infecting children along the Shire River Valley. The findings, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, are particularly important because they show that these human schistosomes have the potential for abrupt changes in their genetic constitution through genetic interactions with schistosomes in livestock. Its consequences alter the basic biology of the schistosome considerably, confounding perhaps current control strategies aimed exclusively at people.

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