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Fungal pathogen sheds gene silencing machinery and becomes more dangerous

For more than a decade, a rare but potentially deadly fungus called Cryptococcus deuterogatti has taken up residence in the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Island. Unlike its cousin Cryptococcus neoformans, which mostly infects patients with compromised immune systems, this fungus has sickened hundreds of otherwise healthy people.

Cryptococcus deuterogattii and Spores
This image shows spores on the surface of a fruiting structure from the fungus Cryptococcus deuterogattii, a deadly strain that emerged in the Pacific Northwest.
Credit: (Edmond Byrnes III, Joseph Heitman — Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology; Valerie Knowlton — North Carolina State University, Center for Electron Microscopy)