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Trends Parasitol. 2002 Aug;18(8):355-9.

Toxoplasma gondii and sex: essential or optional extra?

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Nuffield Dept of Pathology, Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK OX3 9DU.


The evolutionary and biological significance of a female-biased sex ratio within apicomplexan parasites has been the subject of much discussion. It is proposed that the sex allocation theory, as applied to inbreeding populations, can explain the sex ratios observed for this diverse group of parasites. This is based on a mathematical model, which assumes that the majority of microgametes will succeed in fertilizing macrogametes. Is this a realistic assumption? It is possible, for different reasons, that the theory may not to be applicable to either malaria parasites or Toxoplasma gondii.

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