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Science And Nature

This parasite enables you to more appealing so youll have sexual intercourse and spread it, strange study says

Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii) is really a common parasite, one which scientists say may infect over fifty percent the worlds population. Now, scientists also think that T.gondii could be manipulating its hosts to create them more appealing to others. If true, this means there might be a parasite on the market which makes people more appealing to fuel its spread to new hosts through sex.

New study suggests parasite makes people more appealing to fuel its spread

this parasite may make people more attractive to spreadImage source: Kateryna_Kon / Adobe

Parasites will always be recognized to influence just how their hosts behave when attempting to move to a fresh host. T.gondii itself has been recognized to manipulate its hosts. Researchers previously found that the parasite will make infected rats drawn to the smell of urine from predator cats. This led the rats to be a part of riskier behavior. Because of this, the probability of a cat eating the rat increased dramatically.

This allowed the parasite to go to its optimal host. Once it has already reached that optimal host, though, the parasite may then reproduce sexually. Whats most terrifying about how exactly this parasite works is that the manipulation doesnt stop there. Instead, similar manipulations have already been observed in chimpanzees, hyenas, and humans, too. If the parasite could make people more appealing, it might spread easier.

But, theres also another interesting aspect to the entire ordeal. Most animals have a tendency to avoid mating with animals that seem sick at all. Therefore, researchers believe some parasites could have evolved in order to avoid this issue. A study from 2011 shows that T.gondii enhances just how much female rats are drawn to infected male rats. And today, some believe it might do exactly the same in humans.

Researching parasites

scientists working in labImage source: chokniti / Adobe

Evidence implies that T.gondii can manipulate rodents physiological characteristics and behaviors. Consequently, some researchers began wondering if exactly the same can happen in humans. It could seem far-fetched a parasite could make people more appealing. However, there do seem to be some signs that time towards this possibility.

For just one, researchers have previously discovered that T.gondii infections in humans do appear to influence several traits. Several studies, for instance, can see that infections appear to correspond with heightened degrees of testosterone in infected males in comparison with non-infected males. Needless to say, that doesnt necessarily prove anything.

So, a new study made a decision to put the hypothesis to the test. The initial portion of the study discovered that men with T.gondii had higher facial symmetry than non-infected males. Additionally, women infected with the parasite had lower torso mass index and lower torso mass. In addition they had higher self-perceptions of attractiveness. Therefore, it seems this parasite could make people more appealing to spread.

Even still, another area of the study saw 200 subjects looking by way of a mass of photos of infected and uninfected people. The researchers asked the subjects to rate the photos predicated on their perceived attractiveness and health. Photos of people infected with T.gondii were consistently rated healthier and much more attractive by the group.

Needless to say, understanding the how is another matter entirely. As New Atlas reports, researchers are continuing to check into this matter. And you can find hopes that well 1 day better know how a parasite makes people more appealing to fuel its spread.

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