Ecology drives a global network of gene exchange connecting the human microbiome : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

“Horizontal gene transfer — the exchange of genetic material between different species or lineages — is an important factor in bacterial evolution. A study of human microbiome data comprising more than 2,000 full bacterial genomes shows that this environment is a hotbed of horizontal gene transfer: pairs of bacteria isolated from the human body are […]

PLoS Pathogens: Microbial Spy Games and Host Response: Roles of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Small Molecule in Communication with Other Species

“In their constant battles with competitors and the host immune system, (opportunistic) microbial pathogens have developed sophisticated cell–cell communication systems termed quorum sensing (QS) that allow exchange of critical information. In return, competing microbes, as well as the host immune system, have developed means to intercept and decode these messages. The information obtained by this […]

Living to 100 and Beyond – WSJ.com

“In Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” Gulliver encounters a small group of immortals, the struldbrugs. “Those excellent struldbrugs,” exclaims Gulliver, “who, being born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehensions of death!” But the fate of these […]

SXSW 2012 – Influence: It’s in Your Genes

“More and more marketers are looking to tap into data to determine a value on a person. Tools like Klout, PeerIndex, and Avenue Empire are developing their businesses around your influence. We think there is a crucial data set they all are missing. We will take a look at how genotyping can tell more about […]

Ancient DNA reveals secrets of human history : Nature News

“The past months have seen a swathe of discoveries, from details about when Neanderthals and humans interbred, to the important disease-fighting genes that humans now have as a result of those trysts.” Really nice article on the state of ancient DNA genomics. Really interesting and makes me imagine what the world was like with other […]

Language May Have Helped Early Humans Spread Out of Africa – ScienceNOW

“The story of humanity’s prehistoric expansion across the planet is recorded in our genes. And, apparently, the story of the spread of language is hidden in the sounds of our words. That’s the finding of a new study, which concludes that both people and languages spread out from an African homeland by a similar process—and […]

Do gut bacteria worsen malnourishment? : Nature News

“Ultimately, Smith would like to identify a bacterium or set of bacteria that protects children from kwashiorkor, and add it to the emergency rations handed out to starving children, or give it to them beforehand. “Maybe we can do earlier interventions — before they suffer,” she says.” Another interesting finding teasing out the importance of […]