General microbiology and science, July 16

Comparison of 1700 metagenomes,  $125,000 to study 100 trillion bacteria, arsenic speciation, and the Seinfeld “double dipping” videoclip.

General microbiome and metagenome

Metagenome exploringExploring Neighborhoods in the Metagenome Universe – Kathrin P. Aßhauer – International Journal of Molecular Sciences

“Our evaluation on more than 1700 publicly available metagenomes indicates that for a query metagenome from a particular habitat on average nine out of ten nearest neighbors represent the same habitat category independent of the utilized profiling method or distance measure. “

UMass Cancer Avatar Institute, Center for Microbiome Research backed by UMass president

“Beth McCormick, PhD, professor of microbiology & physiological systems, was also awarded $125,000 to develop the Center for Microbiome Research, envisioned as a center of research and education for the microbiome, the ecosystem of the 100 trillion bacteria in the human body.”

Dengue virus

Endothelial Cells in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever – Anon Srikiatkhachorn – Antiviral Research

“In this review we summarize dengue viruses and the spectrum of human disease and highlight evidence of endothelial cell dysfunction in DHF based on studies in patients and mouse and tissue culture models. “

Dengue fever and bone marrow myelofibrosis – Xin Qing – Experimental and Molecular Pathology

“We report the first case to our knowledge of myelofibrosis associated with dengue fever. We briefly describe dengue infections and hypothesize the causes of myelofibrosis in this condition.”

African genetic ancestry is associated with a protective effect on Dengue severity in colombian populations – Juan C. Chacón-Duque – Infection, Genetics and Evolution

“We found that African ancestry has a protective effect against severe outcomes under several systems of clinical classification”

Conference abstract: Longitudinal Analysis Of Dengue Fever Infections Reported In The Uk Betwen 2002 – 2013 Using The Health Improvement Network (Thin) Primary Care Database – D Ansell – Value in Health

Polio virus

Comment: Infectious disease: Polio eradication hinges on child health in Pakistan – Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta – Nature

“Last year, only 406 cases were reported, with 160 of them in just a few areas of the three countries where polio remains endemic”

Microbes in the news

Gut feeling: How intestinal bacteria may influence our moods – Sharon Oosthoek – CBC News

“Dr. Emeran Mayer, a gastroenterologist at University of California, Los Angeles, is a self-described sceptic, but admits “there is enough there to make me think some of the findings from animal studies can be extrapolated to humans.””

#BacteriaHysteria: Double-dipping spreads bacteria. But does it get people sick? (with the famous Seinfeld clip) – Joseph Stromberg – Vox.com

“Many people believe that dipping a chip into a shared bowl of drip, taking a bite, and dipping again — termed “double-dipping” in a 1993 episode of Seinfeld — is an abhorrently unsanitary practice. Others, like George Costanza, think this aversion is unscientific, and there’s actually no harm in double-dipping at all.”

Sizing up bacteria – Peter Reuell – Harvard Gazette

“A new theoretical framework outlined by a Harvard scientist could help solve the mystery of how bacterial cells coordinate processes that are critical to cellular division, such as DNA replication, and how bacteria know when to divide.”

Chilling new details on cold-storage smallpox – Hoai-Tran Bui and Alison Young, USA TODAY

Arsenic metabolism

arsenicComplementary Arsenic Speciation Methods: A Review – Michelle M. Nearing – Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy

“The toxicity of arsenic greatly depends on its chemical form and oxidation state (speciation) and therefore accurate determination of arsenic speciation is a crucial step in understanding its chemistry and potential risk.”

Science, ethics and publishing

Should Research Fraud be a Crime? A Reader Poll – Ed Silverman – Wall Street Journal

“A researcher may lose a job or stature, but should there be more serious consequences, such as criminal liability? A debate between two academics in BMJ, the British Medical Journal, explores the yin and yang surrounding this question.“

Dr. Bik’s Picks

Great title! IgG walkingIgGs are made for walking on bacterial and viral surfaces – Johannes Preiner – Nature Communications

“Here we utilize high-speed atomic force microscopy to examine the dynamics of antibody recognition and uncover a principle; antibodies do not remain stationary on surfaces of regularly spaced epitopes; they rather exhibit ‘bipedal’ stochastic walking”

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