Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium, illustration

Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium, illustration

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Credit: CARLOS CLARIVAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium, illustration. M. genitalium is a small parasitic bacterium. It is a sexually transmitted organism associated with non-gonococcal urethritis in men and several inflammatory reproductive tract syndromes in women such as cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and infertility. As of 2018, its developing resistance to antibiotics means there are fears it may spread out of control as a 'superbug'. The terminal tip organelle is specialised to enable M. genitalium to glide along moist mucous surfaces, as well as to adhere to surfaces such as red blood cells. It has the smallest genome (total genetic material) of all known living organisms. Its genome was mapped in 1993, making it the second complete bacterial genome to be sequenced.

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