More 60-Second Science
[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
The yeast Candida albicans ekes out a quiet living in our gut. But it’s a tough life. It faces acids and enzymes, and the immune system always bullies invaders. So Candida has customized its reproductive cycle for life inside a warm-blooded host. Researchers described it in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.
This cycle is useful for a gut-dweller for two reasons. First, Candida often trashes fewer copies of some chromosomes and more of others. The chromosomal grab bag that results is genetically diverse, and some strains are resistant to antifungal drugs. Second, normal fungal sexual reproduction usually produces spores, which the immune system can easily identify and dispose of. Without spores, Candida can better avoid getting busted.