Pregnant ticks gain a lot of weight. In fact, after females mate and as they feed on a host's blood, they quickly grow to about 100 times their original size.
Researchers have long suspected that the semen of male ticks contains a protein that causes this weight gain. Reuben Kaufman of the University of Alberta in Edmonton and his colleagues have now isolated such a protein, which they call voraxin, and used it to demonstrate the potential for an antitick vaccine.
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