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Fungus Found In Humans Shown To Be Nimble In Mating Game

Brown University researchers have discovered that Candida albicans, a human fungal pathogen that causes thrush and other diseases, pursues same-sex mating in addition to conventional opposite-sex mating.

Scientists have observed this same-sex mode of reproduction in other fungi, but this is the first time they have identified it in Candida albicans, the most common human fungal pathogen.

“This discovery really surprised us,” said Richard Bennett, assistant professor of biology in the Department Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Brown. “Candida albicans has two mating types — a and alpha — and it was assumed that mating could only occur between these two cell types. We now know that a mechanism exists for same-sex mating, and thus sex could be more prevalent in this species than previously recognized.”
 
 

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