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Abstract

Have you ever heard of Toxoplasma gondii? It’s a tiny parasite that can infect animals’ brains. Moreover, it can change their behavior! We captured mice on Kangaroo Island in Australia and examined their brains. We searched for changes in the brain associated with infection. We found alterations in specific genes related to behavior in infected male mice. These changes made the mice less afraid of cats – their natural enemy! Interestingly, we observed no such changes in infected female mice. These findings help us understand how parasites might affect the behavior of the organisms they infect.

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