During his lifetime, Charles Darwin complained of so many different ailments that it’s no small miracle the pioneering evolutionary biologist got any work done. Historians have struggled to understand the exact nature of his illness or illnesses, but new research suggests one potentially obvious malady has been overlooked: Lyme disease.
Ticks — those unbreakable, blood-lusting arthropods that haunt your childhood memories — have some fascinating genetic secrets. The tick genome tells a tale of weaponised spit, expandable armour and how to drink 100 times one’s body weight in blood. Strangest of all, it’s utterly enormous.