Genes from undersea creature may help crops prosper. Raleigh News and Observer, April 16, 2012. The bottles of amber liquid perched on the bench in Dr. Amy Grunden’s research lab at N.C. State University don’t look like much. But floating within are billions of sea-dwelling microbes – too small to see with the naked eye – that researchers hope will one day help plants survive in space, or produce hardier crops and better biofuels in stressful environments here on Earth.
Deadly bird parasite evolves at exceptionally fast rate. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, February 9, 2012. A new study of a devastating bird disease that spread from poultry to house finches in the mid-1990s reveals that the bacteria responsible for the disease evolves at an exceptionally fast rate. What’s more, the fast-evolving microbe has lost a key chunk of its genome since jumping to its new host, scientists were surprised to find. Picked up by MSNBC.
Microbe-managing your life. Raleigh News and Observer, September 19, 2011. Can gut parasites be good for you? It may sound far-fetched. But for those with off-kilter immune systems, scientists are finding hope in some unlikely allies.
New study pinpoints why some microbial genes are more promiscuous than others. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, March 16, 2011. A new study of more than three dozen species — including the microbes responsible for pneumonia, ulcers and plague — settles a longstanding debate about why bacteria are more likely to steal some genes than others.