Volume 19, Number 12—December 2013
Etymologia: Sarcocystis nesbitti
Sarcocystis nesbitti [sahrʺko-sisʹtis nez-bitʹē]
In 1843, Swiss scientist Friedrich Miescher found “milky white threads” in the muscles of a mouse, which for years were known as“Miescher’s tubules.” In 1882, Lankester named the parasite Sarcocystis, from the Greek sarx (flesh) and kystis (bladder). Scientists were unsure whether to classify the species as protozoa or as fungi because only the sarcocyst stage had been identified. In 1967, crescent-shaped structures typically found in protozoa were seen in sarcocyst cultures, and it was determined to be a protozoan, a close relative of Toxoplasma spp. In 1969, A. M. Mandour described a new species of Sarcocystis in rhesus macaques, which he named Sarcocystis nesbitti, after Mr. P. Nesbitt, who saw the trophozoites in stained smears. Snakes are now known to be the definitive hosts of S. nesbitti, and several primates, including humans, can be intermediate hosts.
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