Bulky Trichomonad Genomes: Encoding a Swiss Army Knife

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Journal Article
Trends in Parasitology, 2016, 32 (10), pp. 783 - 797
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The trichomonads are a remarkably successful lineage of ancient, predominantly parasitic protozoa. Recent molecular analyses have revealed extensive duplication of certain genetic loci in trichomonads. Consequently, their genomes are exceptionally large compared to other parasitic protozoa. Retention of these large gene expansions across different trichomonad families raises the question: do these duplications afford an advantage? Many duplicated genes are linked to the parasitic lifestyle and some are regulated differently to their paralogues, suggesting they have acquired new functions. It is proposed that these large genomes encode a Swiss army knife of sorts, packed with a multitude of tools for use in many different circumstances. This may have bestowed trichomonads with the extraordinary versatility that has undoubtedly contributed to their success.
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