Loosely coiled DNA helps trypanosomes make their escape

Friday, January 8, 2010 - 15:35 in Biology & Nature

Some animals use camouflage to outsmart their prey; others use mimicry or fake their own death. But Trypanosoma brucei, the wily parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, is the only organism we know of that can change its molecular identity on command to escape the grip of the human immune system. New research reveals a key discovery that has eluded scientists for decades: To avoid capture, trypanosomes must strategically uncoil their DNA.

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