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Trends Parasitol. 2003 Apr;19(4):155-7; discussion 157-8.

Toxoplasma gondii, sex and premature rejection.

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Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, EH9 3JT, Edinburgh, UK. <>


Adaptive sex ratio theory explains why gametocyte sex ratios are female-biased in many populations of apicomplexan parasites such as Plasmodium and Toxoplasma. Recently, Ferguson has criticized this framework and proposed two alternative explanations--one for vector-borne parasites (e.g. Plasmodium) and one for Toxoplasma. Ferguson raises some interesting issues that certainly deserve more empirical attention. However, it should be pointed out that: (1) there are theoretical and empirical problems for his alternative hypotheses; and (2) existing empirical data support the application of sex ratio theory to these parasites, not its rejection.

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