Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.
From Luke: People with natural resistance to HIV infection have white blood cells that are more vulnerable to the virus—but they don’t produce many viruses once infected.
Using multiple methods of infection and both single-cycle and replication-competent virus, we show that unmanipulated CD4(+) T-cell populations from ES [resistant patients] are actually more susceptible to HIV-1 infection than those populations from CP [nonresistant patients]. Depletion of highly susceptible cells in CP may contribute to this difference. Using 7AAD and AnnexinV staining, we show that infected cells die more rapidly than uninfected cells, but the increased death of infected cells from CP and ES is proportional. Finally, using an assay for measuring virus production, we show that virus production by cells from CP is high compared with virus production by cells from ES or uninfected donors.
From Jeremy: A new paper tests for local adaptation to climate in Arabidopsis using genome-wide association methods—then uses the results to predict loci associated with greater fitness in a common-garden experiment.
We conducted a genome-wide scan to identify climate-adaptive genetic loci and pathways in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Amino acid–changing variants were significantly enriched among the loci strongly correlated with climate, suggesting that our scan effectively detects adaptive alleles. Moreover, from our results, we successfully predicted relative fitness among a set of geographically diverse A. thaliana accessions when grown together in a common environment.
From Jon: A new study points up medical schools’ failure to prepare doctors and nurses to work with sexual minorities.
While nearly all the students were learning to ask patients about the gender of their sexual partners, a majority of medical schools devoted only five hours to teaching anything more than that simple question. Fully one-third of schools allotted no time at all.
From Noah: Southern military bases end up providing an unplanned refuge for disappearing longleaf pine forests.
As it turns out, however, military bases such as Fort Stewart have become a key refuge for longleaf pine. And now the U.S. Department of Defense is funding several independent, long-term studies on how to restore some of the pine’s ecosystems — one of the most biodiverse environments north of the tropics — to their former glory.