Wednesday, September 21, 2011

smart parasite!

A new study shows that a common parasitic organism, Toxoplasma gondii, makes rats have a pretty weird sensory response when it comes to cats - instead of the typical fear response, they have the same attraction to the cats as they normally would to a sexually responsive female rat.

So the infected rat approaches the cat, gets eaten, and then the parasite infects the cat. Diabolical biological ingenuity! (Say that ten times quickly.) Not that I endorse infected cats, but I always get excited when biology is ten steps ahead of scientists. It gives me hope for Mother Nature making a comeback someday.

For the entire NYT article, click here.

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