The wacky world of horizontal gene transfer, genomic variants, and what we think are microbial species

“The main difference from eukaryotes is that prokaryotic reproduction is independent of DNA acquisition and recombination. Instead, DNA is obtained from fragmented chromosomes obtained via parasexual means (that is, without reproduction). These mechanisms of DNA exchange are not restricted to gene exchange within species, and therefore traits can and do come from highly divergent organisms. […]

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Genome Sequence of E. coli O104:H4 Leads to Rapid Development of a Targeted Antimicrobial Agent against This Emerging Pathogen – PLoS ONE

“A recent widespread outbreak of Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Germany demonstrates the dynamic nature of emerging and re-emerging food-borne pathogens, particularly STECs and related pathogenic E. coli. Rapid genome sequencing and public availability of these data from the German outbreak strain allowed us to identify an O-antigen-specific bacteriophage tail spike protein encoded in the genome. […]

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The Visionary

“Seeking to spur drug development, Stephen Friend has launched a daring series of initiatives to make biomedical research more open and effective.” Interesting fellow. He’s a mover and shaker in the bioinformatics “data must be free” crowd. It’s a very good article. Read it. Read this article…

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Hacking yogurt

As a card carrying practical microbiologist, I like making yogurt – cheap and easy to make and very good for your tummy (see here for more on yogurt and a recipe you can use). But I admit I’m not too adventurous: the most I do is try different cultures, flavors, or milks (latest was goat […]

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Incorporating microorganisms into polymer layers provides bioinspired functional living materials

“Artificial two-dimensional biological habitats were prepared from porous polymer layers and inoculated with the fungus Penicillium roqueforti to provide a living material. Such composites of classical industrial ingredients and living microorganisms can provide a novel form of functional or smart materials with capability for evolutionary adaptation. We demonstrated a design of such living materials and […]

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Fortify your poop – Transfaunation

As you know, I’m always looking for practical uses of microbes. One that I stumbled upon a long while back was “transfaunation”, or, seeding one person’s gut with microbes from another’s. Yes, transfering poop microbes from one to another. Be an adult. Don’t get grossed out. I’ve read some great papers on the process how […]

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