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DEADLY PARASITE DANGEROUSLY ALTERED

Researchers at Stanford University are making fundamental changes to the DNA of a deadly parasite  in hopes of better understanding its behavior.  Taking a close look at the study, ZRS contributor, Ashley Martin, is disturbed to find that it has all the hallmarks of a classic zombie outbreak story.

Toxoplasma Gondii is a microscopic parasite that causes Toxoplasmosis in humans and animals, which is the third leading cause of death from food borne illness in the United States.  Though often not fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the parasite remains inactive in the host body, and waits for the ideal time to reactivate itself.

“Over 60 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry the parasite without even knowing it.”

Toxoplasmosis drastically changes the behavior of rats and mice, making them drawn to the scent of cats, rather than fearful of it.  Once the rodent is killed and eaten by a cat, the controlling parasite can then reproduce in its new host.

In humans, mild cases of infection can result in reckless behavior, including higher levels of aggression, jealousy and paranoia.  It can also cause inflammation of the brain, neurologic diseases, and other highly targeted disorders.

Martin argues that genetically altering a deadly, mind-controlling parasite could be the first step towards the evolution of zombiism.  With a legion of people across the planet already infected, the newly modified organism needs only to link up with millions of waiting victims.

Though the Stanford study may prove harmless, the threat of modern medical or scientific mistakes leading to new a new pandemic is very real.  How do you think the next great zombie plague will start?

The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and neurologic diseases and can affect the

11 comments

  1. Genetically altering cells by merging dna is fairly simple, however the procedure must be done correctly: a converted crosman airgun that fires tungsten pellets coated in gold shards with genetic material on them is shot down the barrel, then stoppped by a barrel block, this prevents the pellet from traveling farther but has a hole to allow the gold shards to travel into the cell, injecting genetic material into the cell…

    this process has been utilized in the modification of plant cells so far and is currently being perfected

    another growing concern may be genetically creating a virus based porely on its genetic structure then building from there. Dr. J. Craig Venter is responsilbe for this breackthrough, he designed the whole strand of dna in his cell (btw it was a bacteria) this article on the NYT has information and even mentions its possible use as a bioweapon:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/science/24cnd-genome.html

  2. This zombie thing sounds scary.. But I don’t think this parasite would be readily spread through bites like the traditional zombie movies/stories depict.. Instead.. Zombies will be roaming the streets throwing feces at people like undead monkeys thriving to continue the life cycle until all are dead!

    • i agree on that and i would only think if ithat happens it would be more like the bubnoic plage but would get other people infected by eating the infected meat and or cells touching other cells

  3. Zombies would be cool at least my gun would go to some good use and my bows i always wanted to shoot a zombie between the eyes (man i need help hhaha! bring it on !

    • Jesus..that comment makes me think you already have toxoplasmosis treeghost.. You can’t even put a sentence together right…

  4. could it be started by injecting the Toxoplasma Gondii with steroids thus causing the Toxoplasma Gondii to advance itself to higher levels of Aggression and deep voice but the reason why you need to destroy the brains is because the brain keeps working after death doesn’t it?

  5. This sounds like something that would go on at Plum Island. It’s currently the site where the gov’t researches things like Mad Cow. The test out other viral stuff there as well, not just Mad Cow. Currently, it’s run the Dep of Agriculture because this facility deals with animal related viruses/bacteria.

    The island is only accessible by helocopter or boat. There have been cases of outbreak on the island, but due to it being a remote island off of NY, it never got to the mainland.

    During Bush’s tenure and it’s still ongoing apparently, they want to upgrade the facility from a lvl 3 to a lvl 4 so that they are able to test chem weapons (as well as other bioterrorism vectors). At this point in time, lvl 3 can only test stuff like smallpox, mad cow, etc. Oh, and currently, Plum island is the only place in the US that houses the smallpox virus.

    This wouldn’t be that big deal, but by upgrading the facility, they(the gov’t) want to move it to the mainland around the very creatures they are trying to protect. Go to wikipedia to learn more on Plum Island.

    If it does indeed get moved, I forsee something getting out to cause the **** to hit the fan.

    • The same Plum Island in ‘Survival of the Dead’ ?
      Hint from Romero there?

      • No. That plum island was off the coast of Mass. And people live on that one. This one houses only research facilities and temporary housing for the scientists there.

        There are two plum islands.

  6. This sounds pretty Plausible to me… While it’s unlikely that something like this would lead to typical zombies:
    ie.
    -walking dead
    -can only be killed by destroying the brain
    -eat human flesh
    -etc.

    This could lead to a sort of crazed human, like those seen in 28 Days Later, or The Crazies… very creepy… this is what happens when humans play god.

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