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Parasite brood gets help from nearby microbes

Study suggests new way to battle common intestinal infection

The question of which came first, the whipworm or the whipworm egg, leaves out a key player: bacteria.

Eggs of the parasitic whipworm, whose potential hosts include humans, won’t hatch in their host’s intestine until they get the go-ahead from nearby gut bacteria, researchers report June 10 in Science.

The work reveals how the parasite avoids hatching in the wrong place. It also highlights that parasite-host interactions don’t occur in isolation.

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