Almost pretty but hardly so, is how researcher Dr. Jane Carlton of the New York University School of Medicine, would describe the bacterium Trichomonas.
The one-celled bacterium is the causal organism of trichomoniasis, a severe itchy genital infection, which is sexually transmitted and more severe among women. The infection is spread through sexual contact as well as wet washcloths, toilet seats, etc.
In addition to causing uncomfortable itching in the genital area, an infection by the bacterium is found to result in low birth weight, pre-term delivery.
It also raises the risk of developing AIDS, pelvic inflammatory disease, gonorrhea and syphilis.
Carlton along with 66 researchers from 10 countries mapped the genome of Trichomonas vaginalis and published the genomic sequence in the journal Science.
The 'nasty bug' Trichomonas is observed to have almost as many genes as the human genome.
Carlton is hopeful that the research will help identify ways of diagnosing and treating the infection, which is caught by 170 million people globally.