General microbiology and science digest, July 2

Genome assembly, metabolomics of Salmonella infection, a brief history of women in science (but in Nature!), and Nature’s retraction of the STAP papers.

Metagenomics

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.13.28 PMBayesian Genome Assembly and Assessment by Markov Chain Monte Carlo Sampling – Mark Howison – PLOS ONE

“We present a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach to sequence assembly that instead generates distributions of assembly hypotheses with posterior probabilities, providing an explicit statistical framework for evaluating alternative hypotheses and assessing assembly uncertainty. “

Infection and host response

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.14.12 PMSalmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi – A elaborate distinct systemic metabolite signatures during enteric fever – Elin Näsström – eLife

“To investigate metabolite signals associated with enteric fever we performed two dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) on plasma from patients with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections and asymptomatic controls, identifying 695 individual metabolite peaks.”

and: Host-pathogen interactions: Honing in on enteric fever – Lyle R McKinnon, Quarraisha Abdool Karim – eLife

“The use of metabolomics could lead to improved diagnostics for enteric fever. “

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.14.58 PMHuman Genetic Variation and Yellow Fever Mortality during 19th Century U.S. Epidemics – Lauren E Blake, Mariano A Garcia-Blanco – mBio

“Caucasians diagnosed with YF were 6.8 times more likely to succumb than non-Caucasians with the disease. No other major causes of death during the 19th century demonstrated a similar mortality skew toward Caucasians. “

Bacterial and viral detection in clinical samples

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.15.58 PMThe Microbial Detection Array for Detection of Emerging Viruses in Clinical Samples – A Useful Panmicrobial Diagnostic Tool – Maiken W. Rosenstierne – PLOS ONE

“We report a modified Whole Transcriptome Amplification (WTA) method that increases unbiased amplification, particular of RNA viruses.”

The Sooner, The Better – Nicholette Zeliadt – The Scientist

“New approaches to diagnosing bacterial infections may one day allow the identification of pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibility in a matter of hours or minutes.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.16.45 PMReview: Biosensors for Whole-Cell Bacterial Detection – Asif Ahmed – Clinical Microbiology Reviews

” In this review, we discuss recent progress in the use of biosensors for the detection of whole bacterial cells for sensitive and earlier identification of bacteria without the need for sample processing.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.17.23 PMIsolation of Microorganisms Using Sub-Micrometer Constrictions – Nil Tandogan – PLOS ONE

“We present an automated method for isolating pure bacterial cultures from samples containing multiple species that exploits the cell’s own physiology to perform the separation.”

Phages and viruses

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.18.17 PMFour Escherichia coli O157:H7 Phages: A New Bacteriophage Genus and Taxonomic Classification of T1-Like Phages – Yan D. Niu – PLOS ONE

“Comparative genomic, proteomic and phylogenetic analysis suggested that the four phages along with 17 T1-like phage genomes from database of National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) can be assigned into a proposed subfamily “Tunavirinae” with further classification into five genera”

Dengue

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.18.45 PMClinical and Virological Descriptive Study in the 2011 Outbreak of Dengue in the Amazonas, Brazil – Valquiria do Carmo Alves Martins – PLOS ONE

“The aim of the study was to describe the clinical epidemiology of dengue in Manaus, the capital city of the state of the Amazonas, where all the four DENV serotypes were co-circulating simultaneously.”

Phylogeny and taxonomy

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.12.14 PMComparative Genomics of the Bacterial Genus Streptococcus Illuminates Evolutionary Implications of Species Groups – Xiao-Yang Gao – PLOS ONE

“We use comparative genomic approaches to yield a better understanding of the evolution of Streptococcus through genome dynamics, population structure, phylogenies and virulence factor distribution of species groups. “

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.12.46 PMLivestock-Associated MRSA Carriage in Patients without Direct Contact with Livestock – Miranda M. L. van Rijen – PLOS ONE

“Fifty-six individuals (20.7%) without animal contact carried MC398. In hospitals with high pig-densities in the adherence area, the proportion of MC398 of all MUO was higher than this proportion in hospitals without pigs in the surroundings.”

 Arsenic metabolism

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.02.56 PMMichigan’s arsenic problem is among the worst in the nation. Here’s why that matters – Rebecca Williams – Michigan Radio

“If you’re on city water, your drinking water has to comply with a federal regulation that limits the amount of arsenic in it, but if you’re on a private well, the federal and state governments do not limit the amount of arsenic in your well.”

Women in Science

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.59.45 PMWomen in science: A temporary liberation – Patricia Fara – Nature

“The First World War ushered women into laboratories and factories. In Britain, it may have won them the vote, argues Patricia Fara, but not the battle for equality.”

Science and Ethics

Nature Editorial: STAP retracted – Nature

“This week, Nature publishes retractions of two high-profile papers that claimed a major advance in the field of stem cells… We — research funders, research practitioners, institutions and journals — need to put quality assurance and laboratory professionalism ever higher on our agendas, to ensure that the money entrusted by governments is not squandered, and that citizens’ trust in science is not betrayed.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.11.31 PMPLOS ONE Publishes its 100,000th Article – Damian Pattinson – PLOS Blogs

“PLOS ONE publishes its 100,000th article – a pretty major milestone for a journal that has seen its fair share of momentous events, and a perfect opportunity to reflect on this journey.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.08.37 PMLeprosy, Still Claiming Victims – Natalie Angier, New York Times

““I’m absolutely convinced that leprosy must be thought of as a genetic disease as well as an infectious one,” Dr. Schurr said. In the end, he added wryly, “understanding it may help cure diseases of rich people, too.””

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