General microbiology and science digest, September 16, 2014

Detection of microbes in tissues, a magnet to pull out bacteria from blood, temperature stability of samples, enriching for rare microbial community members, bioinformatics tools for microbiome research, and Bik’s Picks.
Microbial detection

Metagenomic Assay for Identification of Microbial Pathogens in Tumor Tissues – Don A. Baldwin – mBio

“the PathoChip platform was developed by targeting viral, prokaryotic, and eukaryotic genomes with multiple DNA probes in a microarray format that can be combined with a variety of upstream sample preparation protocols and downstream data analysis. “

More microbes

Review: Physical stress and bacterial colonization – Michael Otto – FEMS Microbiology Reviews

“This review will give an overview over the mechanisms human bacterial colonizers have to withstand physical stresses with a focus on bacterial adhesion.”

Techniques

16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing of reference and clinical samples and investigation of the temperature stability of microbiome profiles – Jun Hang – Microbiome

“Three readily available mock bacterial community materials and two commercial extraction techniques, Qiagen DNeasy and MO BIO PowerSoil DNA purification methods, were used to assess procedures for 16S ribosomal DNA amplification and pyrosequencing-based analysis.”

Improving the genetic representation of rare taxa within complex microbial communities using DNA normalisation methods – Dragana Gagic – Molecular Ecology Resources

“The synthetic metagenome was fractionated and thermally re-natured, allowing the most abundant sequences to hybridise. Double-stranded DNA was removed either by hydroxyapatite chromatography, or by a duplex-specific nuclease (DSN).”

Bioinformatics

A better sequence-read simulator program for metagenomics – Stephen Johnson – BMC Bioinformatics

“We present BEAR (Better Emulation for Artificial Reads), a program that uses a machine-learning approach to generate reads with lengths and quality values that closely match empirically-derived distributions.”

Gene finding in metatranscriptomic sequences – Wazim Mohammed Ismail, Yuzhen Ye and Haixu Tang – BMC Bioinformatics

“In this paper, we present TransGeneScan, a software tool for finding genes in assembled transcripts from metatranscriptomic sequences.”

Data analysis for 16S microbial profiling from different benchtop sequencing platforms
Victor S. Pylro – Journal of Microbiological Methods

“Satisfactory results were obtained in those pipelines that applied a chimera-filtering step.”

Metagenome fragment classification based on multiple motif-occurrence profiles – Naoki Matsushita – PeerJ

“we have updated the Naïve Bayes Classifier method using multiple sets of occurrence profiles for each reference genome by normalizing the genome sizes, dividing each genome sequence into a set of subsequences of similar length and generating profiles for each subsequence.”

Revolutionizing prokaryotic systematics through next-generation sequencing – Vartul Sangal – Methods in Microbiology

“In this chapter, we have provided a brief summary of recent advances in sequencing technologies and easy to use bioinformatic tools to analyse sequence data, with a focus on prokaryotic biology. “

Microbes in the news

A Lesson in Language – McAlarnen, Lindsey A. – Academic Medicine

“while I expected a challenge working with human microbiome expert Dr. Rob Knight, I never expected to be as lost as I was that first morning.”

An extracorporeal blood-cleansing device for sepsis therapy – Joo H Kang – Nature Medicine

“Magnets pull the opsonin-bound pathogens and toxins from the blood; the cleansed blood is then returned back to the individual. “

Science and career

Too Few University Jobs For America’s Young Scientists – Richard Harris – NPR Morning Edition

“Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That’s, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.”

Diversity in Science: Where Are the Data? – Fred Guterl – Scientific American

“Global figures on diversity in the science and engineering workforce are hard to come by, but what we know is not flattering”

 

Bik’s Picks

Jack the Ripper, more poison at NIH, Rosetta & the comet – Tabitha M. Powledge – PLOS Blogs

“Scientists have greeted with hoots and catcalls the claim that Jack the Ripper, the near-mythical late-19th Century London serial killer, has been identified from DNA as an immigrant Polish baker named Aaron Kosminski.”

Human faces are so variable because we evolved to look unique – ScienceDaily

“The amazing variety of human faces — far greater than that of most other animals — is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognizable”

Joanne Chang Brings the Sweet Science of Sugar to Harvard – Leah Blumenthal – Eater.com

“Harvard University’s annual Science & Cooking public lecture series brings chefs from around the world to lecture on the intersection of science and cooking.”

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