Arctic melting may help parasites infect new hosts

Grey seals are encountering a killer microbe as they move north

By Tina Hesman Saey, 16:50 PM February 14, 2014

CHICAGO— Along with melting Arctic ice comes an erosion of natural barriers that once separated parasites from hosts.

That erosion has allowed at least two pathogens to infect marine mammals they were previously unknown in, said Michael Grigg, a molecular parasitologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. He reported the findings February 13 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A newly identified parasite was once frozen safely away...

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