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Louse-y genome surprise

Blood-sucking body lice store mitochondrial DNA in 18 mini-chromosomes

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4:57pm, March 30, 2009

Although generally despised, the blood-sucking human body louse, Pediculus humanus, has gained newfound popularity among scientists for a surprising genetic feature. Instead of carrying mitochondrial DNA in a single chromosome loop, the vermin splits this DNA among many chromosomes, making the louse an anomaly in the animal world, scientists report online March 31 in Genome Research.

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