Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sex Matters for Trypanosomes

Caught in the act! Researchers from the University of Bristol have observed mating for the first time in the microbes responsible for African sleeping sickness. This tropical disease is caused by trypanosomes, single-celled parasites that are found in the blood of those afflicted.
The Bristol team were able to see what the trypanosomes were getting up to inside the tsetse flies that carry the disease by using fluorescent markers [see image].  The microscopic beasts were seen twirling and gyrating together before joining up into one hybrid cell.  To tell which was which, individual trypanosomes were tagged with different colours, with the result that the hybrid cells had both colours.  Professor Wendy Gibson, who led the research, commented: “It’s not only bigger animals that have intricate courtship – but you need a powerful microscope to see this!”

Read more:
Bristol University | News from the University | Trypanosomes

Source: Bristol University
Image credits:


Follow Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine on


Follow "Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine " on: