Genetic exchange in trypanosomes
In recent work, we demonstrated the occurrence of meiotic stages and haploid gametes in Trypanosoma brucei and are currently investigating sexual reproduction in the related livestock trypanosome Trypanosoma congolense under BBSRC funding. Sexual reproduction enables gene variants to spread rapidly through the population. In pathogens this can lead to the spread of harmful genes e.g. for drug resistance or virulence, and hence is particularly important.
Development of trypanosomes in the tsetse fly
African trypanosomes such as Trypanosoma brucei and T. congolense undergo a complex cycle of development in the tsetse fly vector. We are currently investigating the developmental cycle of T. congolense in the tsetse fly as part of our work on genetic exchange.
Biology and evolutionary relationships of Trypanosoma suis
Trypanosoma suis has remained elusive for decades, although it was originally described early last century as a pathogen of pigs in East Africa. We now have a live isolate of this parasite, allowing us to investigate its biology and evolutionary relationships. This is the subject of Rachel Hutchinson's SWBioDTP project.