There are 16,000 types of parasitic roundworms causing illnesses in humans and animals. Controlling their effects on health becomes more difficult as the medicines used to treat them become less effective. A University of Georgia nematode expert offers one perspective on new research suggesting genetic changes in the worm cause them to resist conventional drugs.
"It is the mark of good science that it provokes new research directions and ideas in a variety of fields," said Adrian Wolstenholme, an associate professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine department of infectious diseases, in a perspective he authored in the Feb. 3 issue of Science magazine. "In this case, they provide insights into genetic mechanisms by which organisms cope with environmental challenges and the possible evolution of drug resistance in pathogens."
Researchers at Princeton University examined the natural variation of Caenorhabditis elegans, a species of roundworm typically used as a laboratory organism, to learn which genes controlled resistance to poisons produced by the soil bacteria they feed on.
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