A Game of Cat and Mouth

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Science  17 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5605, pp. 353-354
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081278

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The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been remarkably successful, infecting 30 to 50% of the world's population, many of whom are asymptomatic. In their Perspective, Volkman and Hartl discuss new work (Su et al.) that reveals the secret of the parasite's success. The three predominant strains of T. gondii -sibling progeny of a single cross that took place 10,000 years ago-all show greatly enhanced oral transmission between intermediate vertebrate hosts.