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The tiny mites that have sex on our faces may go extinct


According to a recent study, genetic changes in parasite mites that live and reproduce on human faces can be harmful to the host. According to research published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, these 0.3 millimetre long organisms are likely to become extinct due to inbreeding and gene loss.

Demodex folliculorum, a microscopic parasitic mite found on brows, eyelashes, and in close proximity to the nose, was the subject of the study. The study did not include Demodex brevis, the other known type of facial mite.

According to previous research, these mites may be carried by 50-100 percent of people. They are common, but little is known about them. Scientists, for example, are unsure of their evolutionary history or why they are nocturnal. Braig and his colleagues hoped to fill this knowledge gap by collecting and analyzing the DNA of Demodex folliculorum.

According to Alejandra Perotti, associate professor of invertebrate biology at the University of Reading and study co-leader, these parasites have evolved to live in the safety of skin pores.

This comes at a cost: The researchers documented the DNA mutations that resulted in the unusual physical traits and behaviors.

The findings demonstrated that the species has become extremely primitive. According to the researchers, they require the least amount of protein of any closely related species to thrive. They were emphatic that inbreeding does not result in the introduction of new genes.

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