Parabasalids include the protists called trichomonads. The most well know species is Trichomonas vaginalis, a common inhabitant of the vagina of human females. It travels along the mucus coated lining of the reproductive and urinary tract of it's hosts by moving its flagella and by undulating part of it's plasma membrane. If the normal acidity of the vagina is distrubed, T. vaginalis can outcompete beneficial microbes and infect the vagina lining. Such infection, which can be sexually transmitted, can also occur in the urethra of males, through often without symptoms. Genetics studies of T. vaginalis suggests that the species became pathogenic when some of these Parabasalids acquired a particular gene through horizontal gene transfer from bacteria that also dwell in the vagina. The gene allows T. vaginalis to feed on epithelial cells, resulting in infection.
Species of Trichomonas include:
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