by Daniel | The paradoxes surrounding the concept of 'kin' are not only an aspect of human familial relationships, but also central components of biology through evolution. As far as we know, all of the astounding variety of life we observe on Earth descends from a single cell, a primordial, universal common ancestor that gave rise to all current cells. In metaphor, a seed growing into all of the branches on the Tree of Life.
by Christoph | When searching the metagenomes obtained from single Trichoplax H2 individuals for 16S and 18S rRNA-specific sequences, Gruber-Vodicka et al. found, next to the prevalent Trichoplax and Grellia sequences a third sequence at high frequency that matched well with known 16S rRNA sequences from the Marinamargulisbacteria (ZB3), a branch within the phylum Margulisbacteria...
by Christoph | Take a few thousand small eukaryotic cells, allow for a few different cell types, and season the cells generously with endosymbionts (no, not mitochondria, they already have these!). Let the cells self-organize into a patty – or a potato chip, if you're more into a vegan lifestyle – with a diameter of approximately 0.5–1.0 mm, and a mere 25 µm thick.
by Elio | Among the blood tests that your doctor may prescribes is the one for C-Reactive Protein (CRP). What is it? CRP is a protein made by the liver in response to inflammation anywhere in the body, so a positive result will alert the physician that something along those lines is going on some place within you.
by Mechas Zambrano and Roberto | For most English speakers, CPR would be assumed to stand for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, oftentimes a real life saver. But for many readers of this blog, the acronym has a whole different meaning. For the last few years, CPR, has stood for the "Candidate Phyla Radiation." The discovery of the CPR superphylum was (and remains) one of the most remarkable developments in our growing realization that the genetic diversity of the microbial world is unimaginably vast.
by Roberto | Plasmids, autonomously replicating extrachromosomal elements, have long been recognized as important HGT agents. A striking early example of this was the discovery – some sixty years ago – of the very rapid and efficient plasmid-mediated transfer of multiple antibiotic resistance genes in clinical settings.
by Elio | Whipple’s disease is both uncommon and strange. Among clinicians, it is best known for causing malabsorption, leading to malnutrition and even death. The causative agent is a bacterium but its identity was mysterious, being that it was (and remains) "not-yet-cultured" in laboratory media. It was one of the first bacterial pathogens to be identified using molecular techniques (see this 1992 paper by Relman et al.), and was subsequently named Tropheryma whipplei.