Showing category "Bacterial evolution" (Show all posts)

Intriguing impurities

Posted by Heather Maughan on Thursday, May 23, 2013, In : Bacterial evolution 

Many microbiologists begin their workday by opening up the incubator shaker and taking out a culture flask; they then swirl it around to examine the progression of cell growth. They can examine the turbidity of the broth to tell if cells are reproducing as planned. Opening up the lid and sniffing the culture will tell seasoned microbiologists if they’re growing what they think they’re growing, because many bacterial species produce signature aromas. But w...


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Hurricane highway

Posted by Heather Maughan on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, In : Bacterial evolution 
Monday we made sure all of the objects in our yard were secure, to prevent the winds of Sandy from giving them flight.  We didn't know what to expect and didn't want to see our patio table jump through our window.  Luckily the winds didn't do any damage and we're all okay (and dry).

This got me thinking about bacterial dispersal, and how high winds like those in a hurricane really stir things up. Ocean water columns are mixed, ocean waters come ashore, terrestrial soil becomes airborne, tree l...

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Hopeful monsters

Posted by Heather Maughan on Tuesday, August 21, 2012, In : Bacterial evolution 

For centuries scientists have been trying to figure out why some bacteria cause disease, while others are relatively harmless or even beneficial. The search has usually focused on identifying the genetic basis for the ability to cause disease, whether it be the mutation of an existing gene or the gain of a gene via horizontal transfer.  The latter process is (mostly) limited to bacteria, where gene sharing can enable niche exploration and adaptation.

Of special interest is ...


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