Gliding through grease, and protected by our pores, tiny Demodex folliculorum mites lead a secretive life within our skin, only emerging at night to mate on our foreheads, noses and nipples. The first ever genome sequencing study of these mites appears to have caught them in the process of transitioning to internal symbionts, entirely dependent on us for their existence. Eventually, this process may even lead to their extinction. To better understand this relationship, Braig and his colleagues sequenced the genomes of D folliculorum mites, collected from a person’s nose and forehead using a blackhead remover – with each collection yielding about 40 mites. The more they adapt to us, the more genes they are likely to lose, until eventually they may become entirely dependent on us.
Source: The Guardian June 23, 2022 04:55 UTC