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Fungal manipulation of animal behaviour

Parasites and their hosts are in an ever-ongoing battle with each other to get the upper hand in their interactions, and have often been doing so already for millions of years. Such a close co-evolution between parasite and host can result in very complex phenotypes. The adaptive manipulation of host behaviour by parasites is a widespread example of this. Here, parasites have evolved the trait to manipulate their host’s brain and change its behavioural output to benefit their own life cycle and transmission. Though for many of these parasite-host interactions the natural history has been well described, we know little about the molecular mechanisms underlying them. Our interest lies in elucidating these molecular mechanisms. This will further our understanding of how parasites are able to manipulate the animal brain, how certain behaviours might be regulated and how pathological behaviours might come to be.