Head lice vs body lice

12 May 2012
Posted by Kat Arney.

Scientists from the University of Illinois have found more evidence to suggest that human headlice and body lice may be the same species - something that's hotly debated in the world of insect genetics. The researchers compared the activity of genes in both types of lice throughout their life cycle, and subjected them to a range of challenges, such as heat or bacterial infection. They found so few differences between the two that they could arguably be the same species. Interestingly, body lice can transmit diseases like typhus while head lice don't, so the next step is to try and understand how this difference exists when the two species are so similar.

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