Cryptococcal disease is estimated to affect 1 million people and cause approximately 600,000 deaths annually. Environmental isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, and its relative Cryptococcus deneoformans, vary in their pathogenicity, ranging from benign to hyper-virulent. Traits associated with virulence such as the ability to grow at human body temperature (37°C), have been identified. However, little is known about the genetic basis of this phenotypic variation. In the Magwene lab, our work centers around developing Cryptococcus into a model organism for studying quantitative traits. Specifically traits associated with virulence.
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