Tuesday June 18, 2024


Using genome reconstruction, scientists unveiled a once “invisible” fish parasite present in many marine fish world-wide that belongs to the apicomplexans, one of the most important groups of parasites at a clinical level. However, it had gone unnoticed in previous studies. The parasite is geographically and taxonomically widespread in fish species around the planet, with implications for commercial fishing and oceanic food webs.

An international research study led by scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science of the University of Miami, the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) has characterized a new parasite in the red-lipped blenny, a fish that lives in tropical reefs. The international team has also revealed its presence in fish around the world.

Published by Current Biology, the research used an innovative method to reconstruct part of the parasite’s genome from sequencing data obtained from its host, and be able to detect its presence in other fish using genetic “barcodes” (DNA barcoding).

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