Is that a flagella in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
To those of you who strike out more often than not with the opposite sex, here's some disturbing news. Scientists have discovered that even germs have better sex lives than you.
In the past, many disease-causing protozoa were thought to reproduce by splitting in half with no genetic exchange, which is the common way that most microbes reproduce. But new results show they also use sex to swap genes between strains. Research into the sex lives of pathogens helps scientists understand how new strains of disease-causing microbes arise.Story here.
In the case of disease-causing pathogens, like the yeast Candida or the malaria parasite Plasmodium, sex can lead to several harmful genes being combined in one new daughter cell. For example, it is through sex that genes for drug resistance can spread among different pathogen strains faster than it would through asexual methods. Mixing up the genes may also give rise to new pathogen strains that the human population has less resistance to.