Class of 2025
- "How has evolution allowed toxoplasma gondii and ophiocordyceps to manipulate host behavior in their favor?" with mentor Lauren (Aug. 31, 2023)
How has evolution allowed toxoplasma gondii and ophiocordyceps to manipulate host behavior in their favor?
Started Apr. 5, 2023
Abstract or project description
With the rise in popularity of the recent hit show “The Last of Us,” more people than ever are interested in learning about fungal infections, specifically those that affect host behavior. Some fungal and parasitic infections are known to have an effect on hosts, exploiting them to transmit further infection amongst the host population. Toxoplasma gondii influences the rodent's behavior, making it more susceptible to contact with its predator, a cat. Toxoplasma gondii needs a feline host to reproduce. In a similar way, ophiocordyceps modifies ant host behavior to facilitate its contact with additional ant hosts. Through the use of various articles and research, this paper provides a summary of explanations for evolutionary infections that manipulate host behavior.