Parasite Appears to Have Hijacked Many Host Genes to Modulate Host’s Behavior to Favor the Parasite’s Life Cycle; Process of Massive Horizontal Gene Transfer Seems at Play in Horsehair Worm Parasitism of Mantids

Horsehair worm and mantis. Chordodes horsehair worms use mantids as definitive hosts. After maturing in the mantids, they manipulate their hosts to enter water bodies where the parasites reproduce. (Credit: Takuya Sato).
A team led by Tappei Mishina, PhD, at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan has discovered that certain parasites manipulate their hosts using stolen genes that they likely acquired through a phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer. The study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology on October 19, 2023. The article is titled “Massive Horizontal Gene Transfer and the Evolution of Nematomorph-Driven Behavioral Manipulation of Mantids.”
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