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How does trypanosoma reproduce?

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Quick Answer

Trypanosoma reproduces via binary fission, replicating its nucleus and other necessary organelles and then splitting into two daughter cells through cytokinesis. Trypanosoma species are eukaryotic single-celled parasites of several mammalian species, including humans, where they cause sleeping sickness or Chagas' disease. Trypanosoma uses both mammalian hosts and insect vectors in its life cycle, reproducing within both types of host, although they take different forms in each.

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Full Answer

The most well-known Trypanosoma species is Trypanosoma brucei, which causes African sleeping sickness and is transmitted by the tsetse fly. This is a deadly species that, in later stages of the disease, leads to both extreme fatigue and insomnia, along with cardiovascular and other symptoms. The other major species to affect humans is Trypanosoma cruzi, South American organisms that use assassin flies and other parasitic true bugs as vectors, and that cause more long-lasting, but still potentially deadly, symptoms.

Trypanosomiasis is a difficult disease to deal with because the causal organism isn't susceptible to standard antibiotics, and it has sophisticated ways of evading the immune system. It changes its molecular markers frequently, confusing the immune functions that rely on detecting antigens and creating antibodies. Fortunately, the tsetse flies that carry Trypanosoma are less common than the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite, so sleeping sickness is not as large a problem.

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