Friday, August 22, 2014

The Friday Five

Highlighting some of the coolest science news we’ve seen lately.

1. Remember the classic 80s B-movie, "Tremors", with Kevin Bacon? It looks like life is imitating “art” in the case of Eunice aphroditois (aka the Bobbit worm). Click here to watch this critter leap from out of the ground to gobble up an unsuspecting fish.
2. Cinnamon, Boris, and Sylvester. These were the names of the three cats that have helped scientists map the feline genome (no cats were harmed in these experiments!). 

3. An excellent video on the development of antibiotic resistance and evolution of scary “super bugs” like MRSA.

4. Also in antibiotic news, new studies indicate that some of these medications may have unintended consequences. In mice, low dose penicillin altered the normal gut bacteria, which had a long lasting effect on metabolism that predisposed them to obesity. But the research here is also in its “infancy”, so no one should withhold antibiotics to treat serious infections.

Additionally, another study has suggested that certain antibiotics given early in life may alter immunity in the long-term, again by impacting the normal bacteria inhabiting the gut.

5. While most people try to get rid of parasites, there is at least one man who invites them into his gut. Parasitologist Julius Lukes is using himself as a human guinea pig to convince others that parasites are not always bad and may actually have co-evolved to do good things for us. To prove they can be our friends, he’s infected himself with tapeworms. It will be interesting to see how this turns out “in the end”!      

Science quote of the week:

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That's funny’..."  --Isaac Asimov

Contributed by:  Bill Sullivan
Follow Bill on Twitter: @wjsullivan

Tamazian, G., Simonov, S., Dobrynin, P., Makunin, A., Logachev, A., Komissarov, A., Shevchenko, A., Brukhin, V., Cherkasov, N., Svitin, A., Koepfli, K., Pontius, J., Driscoll, C., Blackistone, K., Barr, C., Goldman, D., Antunes, A., Quilez, J., Lorente-Galdos, B., Alkan, C., Marques-Bonet, T., Menotti-Raymond, M., David, V., Narfström, K., & O’Brien, S. (2014). Annotated features of domestic cat – Felis catus genome GigaScience, 3 (1) DOI: 10.1186/2047-217X-3-13

Cox, L., Yamanishi, S., Sohn, J., Alekseyenko, A., Leung, J., Cho, I., Kim, S., Li, H., Gao, Z., Mahana, D., Zárate Rodriguez, J., Rogers, A., Robine, N., Loke, P., & Blaser, M. (2014). Altering the Intestinal Microbiota during a Critical Developmental Window Has Lasting Metabolic Consequences Cell, 158 (4), 705-721 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.05.052’’

Russell, S., Gold, M., Reynolds, L., Willing, B., Dimitriu, P., Thorson, L., Redpath, S., Perona-Wright, G., Blanchet, M., Mohn, W., Brett Finlay, B., & McNagny, K. (2014). Perinatal antibiotic-induced shifts in gut microbiota have differential effects on inflammatory lung diseases Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.06.027

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