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his is a recent peer reviewed resarch summary so probabl pretty authoratative:International Journal for Parasitology Recent advances in Blastocystis hominis research: hot spots in terra incognita [Invited review]Kevin S.W. Tan, Mulkit Singh and Eu Hian YapDespite being discovered more than 80 years ago, progress in Blastocystis research has been gradual and challenging, due to the small number of laboratories currently working on this protozoan parasite.International Journal for Parasitology, 2002, 32:7:789-804Manuscript received 12 September 2001 Revised 14 December 2001 Accepted 18 December 2001; AbstractDespite being discovered more than 80 years ago, progress in Blastocystis research has been gradual and challenging, due to the small number of laboratories currently working on this protozoan parasite. To date, the morphology of Blastocystis hominis has been extensively studied by light and electron microscopy but all other aspects of its biology remain little explored areas. However, the availability of numerous and varied molecular tools and their application to the study of Blastocystis has brought us closer to understanding its biology. The purpose of this review is to describe and discuss recent advances in B. hominis research, with particular focus on new, and sometimes controversial, information that has shed light on its genetic heterogeneity, taxonomic links, mode of transmission, in vitro culture and pathogenesis. We also discuss recent observations that B. hominis has the capacity to undergo programmed cell death; a phenomenon similarly reported for many other unicellular organisms. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of this parasite. Although there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that B. hominis can be pathogenic under specific conditions, there are also other studies that indicated otherwise. Indeed, more studies are warranted before this controversial issue can be resolved. There is an urgent need for the identification and/or development of an animal model so that questions on its pathogenesis can be better answered. Another area that requires attention is the development of methods for the transfection of foreign/altered genes into B. hominis in order to facilitate genetic experiments. tom
 
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