How do protists affect humans?
Credit:Roland BirkePhotographer's ChoiceGetty Images
Q:

How do protists affect humans?

A:

Quick Answer

Protists are primitive single-celled organisms, some of which cause human diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four basic types of protozoans afflict humans, which are classified in the groups Sarcodina, Mastigophora, Ciliophora and Sporozoa.

 Know More

Full Answer

One noteworthy protist that affects humans is called Trypanosoma. This protist causes sleeping sickness and Chagas' disease. The organism was discovered in the early 1900s by the Brazilian researcher Carlos Chagas. It is carried and transmitted by the saliva of flies and assassin bugs when they bite humans.

According to the CDC, most protists that afflict humans live in the intestinal tract and are spread via the fecal-oral route. Giardia is a flagellate protist that causes very serious intestinal symptoms for people, and it is often acquired through the ingestion of fouled water.

Other protists are transmitted by insects and other creatures. One particularly damaging protist is called plasmodium, which causes the disease known as malaria. Malaria lives in the bloodstream of humans, and it is spread from one person to another when a mosquito bites an infected human and then bites another human.

The classification of protists is unresolved. Generally, scientists call plant-like protists algae while they call animal-like protists protozoans. Some other protists differ from both of these types, and they resemble fungi.

Learn more about Biology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are protists helpful to humans?

    A:

    According to the CK-12 Foundation, protists are helpful to humans because they produce oxygen, are used in medical research, are an important part of the food chain and are even used in food. In fact, protists help to recycle the nutrients necessary for plant and animal life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the general characteristics of bacteria?

    A:

    Bacteria are typically single-celled organisms called prokaryotes that may serve as digestive aids, cause disease or aid in decomposition. Unlike eukaryotes, they do not have nuclei. Bacteria contain their DNA and other genetic material as a single strand in their cytoplasm, and they reproduce through a process called binary fission.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What biochemical evidence is there for evolution?

    A:

    The theory of evolution is supported by biochemical evidence; many of the same molecules and biochemical processes occur within all living organisms, from single-cell bacteria to humans. Originally, scientists couldn't understand how the process of evolution began, but they later discovered that RNA possesses catalytic properties.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is traditional biotechnology?

    A:

    Traditional biotechnology is the use of natural organisms by humans to create or modify foods or other useful products. Examples of traditional biotechnology include using yeasts for fermentation and practicing selective seed collection to create hardier crops.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore