Scientists have announced that after years of research, they have managed to decode the Genome of the common Garden Gnome. The announcement coincides with a warning that a deadly fungus which lurks in compost heaps and flourishes in damp conditions could wipe out this entire endangered species by 2020, unless governments act to stem the tide of destruction.
The gnome genome contains nearly as many genes as its closest relative the human, and its most remarkable feature is a growth hormone deficiency.
This major piece of research may come to nothing. The warning about fungal infection comes after latest research from GAFFI (The Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections) shows garden gnomes around the country have suddenly, and mysteriously, become infected by fungal disease and are dropping like flies.
If you suspect your gnomes have fungal disease follow us on twitter @gaffi_org for the latest updates. Follow @gaffi_org
At a secret location in a suburban garden in the UK, an entire colony has been wiped out by the fungus which causes a condition known as Aspergillosis. GAFFI has obtained exclusive footage of the latest outbreak. WATCH HERE or visit You Tube.
GAFFI President Dr David Denning, who is Professor of Fungal Medicine at the University of Manchester, says that fungal disease is known to affect 300 millions humans across the globe but this is the first time Aspergillosis has been diagnosed in gnomes. He wants people who discover diseased gnomes to report it on the GAFFI website email.
Fungi cause many serious diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and eye diseases resulting in blindness and disfigurement. An estimated 150 die each hour, more deaths than from malaria or tuberculosis. Fungal disease is very hard to detect, diagnose and treat. The difficulty exists mainly in low and middle income countries where insufficient funds mean NO simple diagnostics or standard therapies. This creates a self-perpetuating black hole in our knowledge and understanding of the diseases.
Fungal disease becomes much more problematic when it piggy-backs on other diseases such as cancer, asthma, TB and AIDS, or health problems that reduce immunity such as cancer chemotherapy, organ and bone marrow transplants. Fungal diseases thrive in these situations hiding from view, mimicking symptoms and remaining undetected. Serious fungal infections require specialized testing.
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