The Mites Living On Our Face Are Evolving
According to scientists, tiny parasites that live on people’s faces and mate on skin tissue evolve into creatures that share a symbiotic existence with humans.
The 0.3 millimeter-sized ‘Demodex folliculorum‘ parasites, that live in hair follicles on the human face and nipples, were thought to have a one-way parasitic relationship with humans in which only they benefited them. However, according to a new study, it has been revealed that the existence of Demodex folliculorums, whose DNA has begun to change, in our body is a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship.
Face mites, which lose their genes that protect them from UV rays over time and therefore operate at night, enter the skin tissues while people are sleeping, reproduce and breed here.
90 percent of people live with these parasites on their face. These mites, which are usually passed from mother to baby after birth, can survive for many years without being noticed. Only if they reproduce in high numbers can they dry the skin and cause discomfort such as redness and itching.
It has been claimed that face mites, which until now have been accused of causing dermatitis when they die, by depositing their feces in their bodies until they die because they do not have an anus, actually have an anus.
‘They ensure that the pores on our face are not clogged’
A research paper by scientists from the University of Reading, the University of Valencia, the University of Vienna and the National University of San Juan, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, revealed that face mites are wrongly accused of skin infection.
Pointing out that people benefit from face mites just as face mites benefit from humans, Dr. Henk Braig from San Juan National University said, “Mites have been accused of many things. However, their long-standing association with humans may suggest that they may have simple but important beneficial roles, such as unclogging the pores on our face.”
The research, which is the first gene sequencing study on mites, suggests that the isolated existence and interbreeding of face mites causes them to lose unnecessary genes and cells over time and become simpler organisms that will soon integrate with their human hosts.
Biologist Dr. Alejandra Perotti said, “We found that these mites have a different arrangement of body part genes than other similar species, due to their adaptation to a sheltered life inside human skin pores.”
“While these ‘changes in the mites’ DNA result in some unusual body features and behaviors”, Perotti says, these results include developing small legs made up of only three-celled muscles.
Face mites, which lack the gene that allows animals to wake up with daylight and protection against UV rays, are therefore unable to produce melatonin on their own.
Instead, they get the melatonin they need to grow through the pores in human skin at night.
The process, which researchers call ‘overnight mating’, means that face mites burrow into hair follicles and pores in human skin, where they feed, mate, and breed.