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'Ich' Discovery Could Yield New Ways to Treat Devastating Freshwater Fish Parasite

Researchers from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine have made an "unexpected" dual discovery that could open new avenues for treating Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, or "Ich," a devastating single-celled protozoan parasite that commonly attacks freshwater fish.

With the aid of whole-genome sequencing, researchers found that Ich harbors two apparently symbiotic intracellular bacteria: Bacteroides, which are usually found free-living, and Rickettsia, which are obligate intracellular bacteria. The two bacteria represent new species.

Five researchers from the College's Department of Infectious Diseases worked on the project in collaboration with two researchers from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a researcher from the J. Craig Venter Institute, a DNA sequencing laboratory; their initial intent was to map the genome of Ich. Their study is published in the December 2009 issue (Issue 23) of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, with an image from the study donning the cover.
 
 

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