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November 24 , 2007

Living Together

The Biology of Animal Parasitism


William Trager has been an avid student of parasites for over 50 years at the Rockefeller University. Around the turn of this century, parasitology enjoyed a certain vogue, inspired by colonial responsibilities of the technically ad­ vanced countries, and by the exciting etiological and therapeutic discoveries of Ross, Manson, Ehrlich, and others. For some decades, the Western hemi­ sphere's interest in animal parasites has been eclipsed by concern for bacteria and viruses as agents of transmissible disease. Only very recently, initiatives like the Tropical Disease Research programs of WHO-World Bank-UNDP, and the Great Neglected Disease networks of the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations have begun to compensate for the neglect of these problems by United States federal health research agencies. Throughout that period, how­ ever, the Rockefeller Institute (later University) has given high priority to the challenges of parasitism, corresponding during a formidable period with Dr. Trager's own career. The present work then, is a distillation of the insight collected by our principal doyen of parasite biology, informed but by no means confined to his own research. It is addressed to the reader of broad biological interest and training, not to the specialist. The disarmingly unpretentious style makes the work readily accessible to college undergraduates or even to gifted high school students; but do not be deceived thereby, as it has an enormous range of factual information and theoretical insight, familiar to few, but potentially important to most biologists.
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