"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

December 31, 2011

Chipping away at the tip of the iceberg

Through out 2011, we have been featuring more weird and wonderful parasites as we have done in 2010, but on top of that we have also been featuring some of the latest pieces of research being published on all manners of parasitic and infectious organisms which may not have been covered elsewhere in the blogosphere.

Just this year we saw a molecular study that revealed the transmission pathway of a great white shark tapeworm via dolphin blubber, a koala blood parasite named after Steve Irwin, a nematode which infiltrate pine trees via borrowed genes from fungi, a parasitic plant which disperse its seeds via beetles, and a little digenean fluke which changed the face of an entire mudflat, just to name a handful out of dozens that we have featured.

So in 2011, we have gone beyond merely showing you the parasites, but also told you about the research which are being conducted behind the scene to work out how they live. At the same time, you also got a bit of insight into the scientific process, and how knowledge accumulate and grow over time.

In 2012, we will continue to bring you new and exciting research on parasites and parasitism - publications which we found interesting but might not have received their share of fanfare and press releases (as I type this up, I have at least another 4 paper waiting in line to write up. And no doubt I'll find another 4 to write about by the time I'm done with those).

Of course, research on a particular host-parasite system does not simply enter suspended animation after a single study has been published. For many lab groups, the parasite we have featured on this blog form the basis of their scientific research, and the newly published paper we have chosen to feature here merely represents a thin cross-section of their ongoing research program. So in 2012 we might also be revisiting some of the parasites that we have previously featured on the blog, and fill you in on the latest updates as they hit the press.

Of course, you can now also find us on other forms of social media where we will be posting about updates to the blog. Susan is on Twitter , and you can find myself on Google Plus.

Here's to another year of parasitism - the most common way of life on this planet!

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