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Welcome to Mostly Microbes and Infectious Diseases. David Ojcius posts newspaper and journal articles in the broad field of microbiology.

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Researchers found evidence of a coronavirus epidemic that broke out >20,000 years ago in East Asia.

#coronavirus #COVID19 #Asia #evolution Genomes of >2,500 people show interaction with coronaviruses, which left genetic imprints on the DNA of modern-day people in East Asia. Over the past 20 years, people have faced a series of outbreaks caused by coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS, and Covid-19. But humans may have faced the disease millennia ago, new research suggests. A team of researchers from Australia and the United States has found evidence of a coronavirus epidemic

Trained viruses prove more effective at fighting antibiotic resistance

#antibioticresistance #phages #bacteriophages #microbiology #evolution Scientists trained phages to lead to greater bacterial suppression & delay evolution of phage resistance. The threat of antibiotic resistance rises as bacteria continue to evolve to foil even the most powerful modern drug treatments. By 2050, antibiotic resistant-bacteria threaten to claim more than 10 million lives as existing therapies prove ineffective. Bacteriophage, or "phage," have become a new sourc

Luring bacteria into an evolutionary trap to reduce treatment resistance

#immunology #Salmonella #vaccines #evolution #microbiology Researchers succeeded in developing an oral vaccine against Salmonella that induces IgA in the gut, & instead of trying to outright kill intestinal bacteria, guides the evolution of attenuated Salmonella variants. Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Basel have developed a vaccine that protects animals from Salmonella. These bacteria often escape the effects of vaccination by genetically modifying their pro

The mysterious microbes that gave rise to complex life

#microbiology #evolution #Archaea are more than just oddball lifeforms that thrive in unusual places: they turn out to be quite widespread. Moreover, they might hold the key to understanding how complex life evolved on Earth. Enigmatic microbes called archaea are best known for living in extreme environments, such as deep-ocean vents and acid lakes. They might also hold the key to understanding how complex life evolved on Earth. Many scientists suspect that an ancient archaeo

DNA’s Histone Spools Hint at How Complex Cells Evolved

#evolution #biology #molecularbiology #microbiology Histones, as linchpins of the apparatus for gene regulation, play a role in almost every function of eukaryotic cells. “In order to get complex, you have to have genome complexity, and evolve new gene families, and you have to have a cell cycle,” explained William Martin, an evolutionary biologist and biochemist at Heinrich Heine University in Germany. “And what’s in the middle of all this? Managing your DNA.” New work on th

New Species Fills Billion-Year Gap in Evolution of Cyanobacteria

#microbiology #evolution Researchers have isolated a new species of #cyanobacteria from a tropical hornwort plant found in Panama. The discovery opens a new window to further illuminate the dawn of oxygenic photosynthesis. The newly-discovered cyanobacteria species belongs to the Gloeobacteria group, which is extremely rare. Scientifically named Anthocerotibacter panamensis, it diverged from the closest known Gloeobacter species over 1.4 billion years ago. “Prior to this disc

Genetic admixture in the South Pacific: From Denisovans to the human immune response

#immunology #evolution Scientists have looked at understudied human populations from the South Pacific, which are severely affected by a variety of diseases, including vector-borne infectious diseases such as #Zika virus, #dengue, and #chikungunya, and metabolic diseases such as #obesity and #diabetes. Using genome sequencing of 320 individuals, the scientists have investigated how human populations have biologically adapted to the environments of the Pacific islands and how

A microbial marriage reminiscent of mitochondrial evolution

Researchers describe a bacterial endosymbiont that they discovered living in a ciliate. Although associations between these types of organism are not uncommon, this case has some of the hallmarks of the #endosymbiosis that gave rise to mitochondria. #symbiosis #evolution

Plant evolution driven by interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microbes

Plant #evolution driven by interactions with symbiotic and pathogenic microbes Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts have layered innovation onto existing pathways to build new microbial interactions. Such innovations may be transferrable to crop plants with an eye toward building a more sustainable #agriculture. #microbiology #symbiosis

New understanding about ancient branch of life on Earth

All life on Earth can be divided into three broad domains—archaea, bacteria, and eukaryotes. Humans, other animals, plants, fungus—right down to some single-celled organisms—belong to the Eukaryotes. Bacteria are single-celled organisms and include species that cause disease as well as beneficial species that contribute to human and animal health. Scientists discover that archaea use 'gene duplication' to increase their ability to develop genetically in the same way as eukary

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