“It is very worrying not only to read about yet another blunder by the industrial farming sector (Pigs in the pink: gene editing is set to revolutionise the farming industry, 17 March) but also that the article didn’t attempt to counterbalance with a different viewpoint. It is well known that healthy, agroecological, farming systems support healthy animals and plants that are then, by and large, resilient to disease. The solution for a sick animal is not to edit genes, because this does not address the cause of the problem and only makes it worse, as the ill health will only find a different way to express itself. In the meantime we are supporting unhealthy farming systems and their associated diseases, and consuming sick pigs.”
This is a fairly good article addressing a problem in the promise of gene editing.
BOY do I wish I could tie this article to the DC universe. However, the report that bats are making a comeback from the white-nose syndrome that decimated populations should be good news enough.
Especially given that some species have experienced a near total collapse: Little brown bat populations have been decimated by about 90 percent, while tricolored and northern long-eared bats are suffering losses of around 97 percent.
Want to know about the multi tiered approach to eradicating or at least combating this disease? Read about it here.
“While overuse of antibiotics has been fingered as the driver of resistance to these drugs, the contribution of bacterial sex plays an underappreciated role, one that could bedevil efforts to fight antimicrobial resistance.”
Want to hear more about this sexy and interesting outcome of bacteria doing it*?
Read more here!
*I’m pretty sure that’s how the song goes:
Birds do it.
Bees do it.
Bacteria do it and it drives the evolution of resistance.
A new study suggests that human parasites—like fleas and lice—and not rats, may be responsible for spreading the Black Death that killed millions of people in Medieval Europe.
A personal favorite infectious disease of mine is the plague, what a perfect confluence of infection agent (the bacteria Yersinia pestis), susceptible population (do you know what passed as cleanliness standards in medieval Europe?), and good environmental factors (over crowding).
But it turns out that rats, previously thought to be the main culprits of spreading the plague, may not be responsible for spreading the Black Death (also, GREAT name).
Want to know more? Read about it here!
The title of this post is not my own, but it kind of has a point. Not “everything dies” but rather, a lot more apocalyptic.
A brown-black beetle (the polyphagous shot hole borer) breeds inside trees. It drills networks of tunnels, which then get infected by a fungus it carries to feed it’s young. Eventually the tree dies, the beetle moves on and the whole cycle starts again.
This would be a cute horror story, if the beetle wasn’t on track to kill 26.8 million trees across Southern California. Which is going to directly link to the death of humans. Interested? Find out why here.
Scientists on at MIT are proposing to introduce a mouse that has its genes edited to resist Lyme disease. Given the high prevalence of Lyme disease on the small New England Island, the removal of Lyme disease from the mouse population (who harbor before it infects humans) would then directly effect how prevalent it is in the human population.
But really, this story is about one of the first real world examples of CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing tool.
Read about it over at the New Yorker.