Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Gruesome Parasite Lives in You for Decades

Researchers discovered the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni harbors a population of non-sexual stem cells (yellow dots) that replenish its tissues and contribute to its ability to live in its host for decades. 


Blood flukes, or schistosomes, are parasitic flatworms that can live inside people for decades, and they make a rather gruesome journey to get there — after hatching in water contaminated by feces, the parasites hitch a ride into the human body on a tiny snail host that burrows through skin.

Now researchers may have found the secret to the blood fluke's long life cycle: They discovered stem cells lurking in a fluke, allowing it to keep regenerating its body parts.
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