Dangerous fungus can reproduce sexually, creating resistant strains

In their study, published in the Computation and Structural Biotechnology Journal, the researchers analyzed 1,285 strains of Candida

auris.Biologists have shown that this fungus uses recombination to exchange genetic information between strains. This feature allows Candida auris to rapidly generate new genetic variants and produce more drug-resistant and more virulent strains.

Candida auris is a pathogenic fungus thatcan cause severe infections and sometimes death. It was first discovered in 2009 and has since spread to at least 50 countries. It typically infects immunocompromised patients in hospitals.

Unlike animals and plants, thesemicroorganisms usually divide and reproduce asexually and all "copies" of the fungus are genetically identical. In their study, the scientists showed that Candida auris can use sexual reproduction.

As the researchers explain, mixing strains inin the same hospital, and even in the same patient, creates an opportunity for them to meet and mate. This means that if one strain becomes resistant to one drug and the other strain to another, they can produce offspring that are resistant to both drugs through sexual activity.

The authors of the work note that the discovery will help doctors deal with resistant forms of microorganisms.

This may sound intimidating, but it's a double whammy.ends. Since we have learned that they can recombine in nature, we can replicate this process in the laboratory. This will help to more quickly understand the genetic control of virulence and drug resistance, as well as potentially other traits that make it such a dangerous pathogen.

Jianping Xu, professor at McMaster University and study co-author

Hi-Tech has previously detailed fungal infections and the deadly Candida auris.

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