Genetic code of candida cracked

A team at Aberdeen scientists under Professor Neil Gow, Chair in Microbiology at the University of Aberdeen have cracked the genetic code of six species of Candida.

Candida is the most common cause of fungal infection worldwide - best known as a cause of thrush in women and babies, although this is easily treated. However several Candida species can pose a far more serious threat to people whose immune systems are compromised (such as cancer adn trauma patients) leaving them vulnerable to fungal infections. The mortality rate of someone who has contracted septicaemia caused by Candida, for example, is about 30% to 40%.

In a paper published in Nature they report that they have cracked and analysed the genetic code of six Candida species. Subsequent findingshave also revealed the relationships of Candida species to each other and discovered why some species seem to have lost the ability to mate.

While understanding the genetic make-up of Candida does not in itself offer a cure or a new treatment, it does give researchers a 'toolbox' for tackling the organisms.

Professor Neil Gow, Dr Carol Munro, Dr Carol Munro, Professor Al Brown, Dr Ian Stansfield and Dr Steven Bate were the Aberdeen researchers who were part of the international collaboration that analysed the genome sequencing that was decoded by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

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First Published June 2009

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