Viewing Giardia Protozoa better through 3D modelling
by Mol Smith 2010
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3D Modelling of Giardia
The 3D model below has been rendered as semi-transparent so we can detect internal processes as well as see external ones. It is a bit metallic looking here but it can be 'retextured' to look less hard-surfaced. The underside of the protozoa has a characteristic 'smiley face' look about it. The flagella used for motility are well defined as as well as the distinctive curly-edged skirt around the main capsule.

The main sucking disc, used to adhere to the intestinal wall (which incidentally leaves behind an impressed circle on the surface after detachment) is not so clear. So lets render the model again to see that detail.

Here (above), the adhesive area is pushed in during the model rendering to form a sucker like depression. It is important to realize this is an artist's impression (mine) of the actual external process of this area of the entity.The model contains internal processes too and we can render the model to make it more transparent and take a look inside at these elements here.

The two nuclei are similar in appearance, DNA content, transcription, and moment of replication. Giardia and the other diplomonads are unique in this. The active feeding stage of a protozoal parasite, as distinct from its encysted stage, is called itsTrophozoite phase. The Trophozoites of Giardia have a ploidy (
ploidy is the number of complete sets of chromosomes in a biological cell.) of four, and the ploidy of its cyst stage is eight, which then poses the question of how Giardia maintains homogeneity between the chromosomes of the same and opposite nuclei.

Although infection with this protozoan can be uncomfortable and distressing, especially when it builds up a significantly sized colony, it is rarely fatal. As an interesting anecdote, it has recently been discovered that Giardia was a likely contender for causing dysentery to Crusaders in Palestine in the 12th and 13th centuries.

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Published in Feb 2010 Micscape Magazine.
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