General microbiology and science, July 14

Rectal swabs instead of stool samples, faster way of finding orthologs, and intelligence in bacteria.

Bioinformatics

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.24PM, Jul 14Quickly Finding Orthologs as Reciprocal Best Hits with BLAT, LAST, and UBLAST: How Much Do We Miss? – Natalie Ward, Gabriel Moreno-Hagelsieb – PLOS ONE

“Since sequence comparison can be time consuming, we decided to compare the number and quality of RBHs detected using algorithms that run in a fraction of the time as BLAST. We tested BLAT, LAST and UBLAST.”

Sampling techniques

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.24PM, Jul 14ectal Swabs for Analysis of the Intestinal Microbiota – Andries E. Budding – PLOS ONE

“In this study we investigated the characteristics and applicability of rectal swabs for gut microbiota profiling in a clinical routine setting in patients presenting with various gastro-intestinal disorders. We found that rectal swabs appeared to be a convenient means of sampling the human gut microbiota.”

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.25PM, Jul 14Some Are More Equal – A Comparative Study on Swab Uptake and Release of Bacterial Suspensions – Philipp Warnke – PLOS ONE

“Highest amount of CFU release was detected for the MWE Dryswab in the unrestricted setting for both S. aureus and S. epidermidis with 1544 CFU and 553 CFU, respectively, lowest release for the Sarstedt neutral swab with 32 CFU and 17 CFU, respectively (p<0.001).”

Antibiotics, resistance, biofilms

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.26PM, Jul 14Beta-Lactam Antibiotics Stimulate Biofilm Formation in Non-Typeable Haemophilus influenzae by Up-Regulating Carbohydrate Metabolism – Siva Wu – PLOS ONE

“When exposed to sub-inhibitory concentrations of beta-lactam antibiotics NTHi strains produced tightly packed biofilms with decreased numbers of culturable bacteria but increased biomass.”

General microbiology

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 12.23PM, Jul 14Macromolecular networks and intelligence in microorganisms – Hans V. Westerhoff – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Here, we explore how macromolecular networks in microbes confer intelligent characteristics, such as memory, anticipation, adaptation and reflection and we review current understanding of how network organization reflects the type of intelligence required for the environments in which they were selected.”

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.26PM, Jul 14 1The syndemics of childhood diarrhoea: A biosocial perspective on efforts to combat global inequities in diarrhoea-related morbidity and mortality – Nicola Bulled – Global Public Health

“Drawing from available literature, this paper uses syndemic theory to explore the role of adverse biosocial interactions in increasing the total disease burden of enteric infections in low-resources populations and assesses the limitations of recent global calls to action.”

Bacteria in the news

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.19PM, Jul 14We Are Our Bacteria – Jane E. Brody – New York Times (illustration by Ken Orvidas)

“We may think of ourselves as just human, but we’re really a mass of microorganisms housed in a human shell.”

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.27PM, Jul 14#BacteriaHysteria : Gross! Lots of bacteria found on new swimsuits – Jane Weaver – Today Health

“The removable liner in women’s swimsuits that is meant to protect the fabric from our cooties isn’t really protective after all, according to a microbe researcher. “

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.28PM, Jul 14Milford hospital enlists robots in war against infections – Mary MacDonald – Boston Globe

“The robots, made by Xenex Disinfection Services, use an intense flash of ultraviolet light to fight the bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other micro-organisms that traditional cleaning methods can miss, according to the hospital’s infection control staff.”

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.29PM, Jul 14CDC Cracks Down on Labs After Anthrax, Bird Flu Scares – Jonel Aleccia – NBC News

“Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Friday announced an immediate moratorium on all shipments of biological materials from CDC biosecurity level 3 and level 4 labs until problems are addressed.”

Marine Mammals

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.29PM, Jul 14 1How Dolphins’ Genetics Could Help Find Answers Into Mysterious Animal Die-Off – Sascha Cordner – WFSU

“A discovery into dolphin genetics may have brought research scientists one step closer to finding out the source of a mysterious animal die-off last year in the troubled Indian River Lagoon.”

Science and publishing

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 12.45PM, Jul 14Retractions are coming thick and fast: it’s time for publishers to act – Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky – The Guardian

Another encouraging development is the rise of post-publication peer review, which has been made possible in recent years by the availability of papers online. Contributors to PubPeer, for example, have found signs of flawed or falsified results, leading to papers being retracted.”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.34PM, Jul 14Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn’s disease – Britt-Sabina Petersen – BMC Genomics

“We present a thorough genetic characterization of the sequenced individuals but detected no consistent differences within the twin pairs. “

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.32PM, Jul 14How much science is there in new Planet of the Apes film? – Paul Rincon – BBC Science

“The latest instalment in the Planet of the Apes film franchise opens in the US on Friday. The rubber masks of the 60s and 70s films have been discarded in favour of motion capture suits and CGI. But how much did science inform the new movie’s portrayal of our close relatives?”

Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 06.31PM, Jul 14Domestication syndrome: White patches, baby faces and tameness explained by mild neural crest deficits – Science Daily

“Compared to their wild ancestors, domestic species are more tame, and they also tend to display a suite of other characteristic features, including floppier ears, patches of white fur, and more juvenile faces with smaller jaws.”

 

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