Many deep sea creatures are bioluminescent. However, before documenting the luminescence of the kitefin shark, Dalatias licha, there has never been a nearly six-foot long luminous vertebrate creature. In a recent study, Mallefet and colleagues examined three species of sharks: Dalatias licha, Etmopterous lucifer, and Emopterus granulosus and documented their luminescence for the first time. These bioluminescent sharks are the largest bioluminescent creatures known.Continue reading “Bioluminescent Sharks Set the Sea Aglow”
Last month brought some hopeful news on the subject of antibiotic resistance. A paper published in Nature on June 26 described the isolation of a fungal compound that restored the antibiotic sensitivity of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteria. An editorial accompanying the paper took encouragement from the article–considering it a sign that the well of potential sources of new antimicrobial agents, and agents that inhibit resistance mechanisms, is not yet dry:
But the reservoir of natural products with the potential to act as antibacterial drugs has not yet been exhausted. In contrast to general thinking by drug companies, screening for such products may well still have a bright future” Nature News and Views: “Antibiotic resistance: To the rescue of old drugs” Meziane-Cherif & Courvalin, Nature 510, 477–478.
The emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics has been an object lesson in the relentlessness of natural selection; the moment a new antibiotic is developed and introduced, the countdown to the emergence of resistance begins. The race to keep the one step ahead of emerging resistance mechanisms has been going on since antibiotics were first introduced.
The history of the development of penicillin and related antibiotics is both an illustration of the ingenuity of scientists and of the never-ending nature of this battle with emerging resistance. The Nature paper is the latest installment in that story. Continue reading “Hope for Treatment of Carbapenem-Resistant Bacteria”
Worms from the heights of space and the depths of the earth were in the news last week, one well-known species soaring to the heavens as part of a space flight experiment and a previously undiscovered species revealing the surprising extent of multicellular life in the hidden depths of earth.
The Worm from the Heavens
Caenorhabditis elegans perhaps qualifies as the most well-known of all worms. This 1mm roundworm, is a staple model organism in molecular biology. It’s easy to grow and store, possesses a simple neuronal network, and is transparent, making it easy to study cell differentiation and development. It was the first multicellular organism to have its genome sequenced, and the developmental fate of all its somatic cells has been studied. In some ways we know C. elegans better than we know ourselves.
Continue reading “Worms from Heaven and Hell”
Did you know that the microorganisms living in and on the human body (most on the skin, in the gut, and in the mouth) outnumber all our human cells by a factor of ten? But read on before you grab the hand sanitizer and schedule a colonic, these “germs” may be an integral part of what makes you… well “you”. Indeed, the profile of microorganisms happily living in and on your body may be as unique a signature as your DNA profile or your fingerprints—perhaps more so. Continue reading “How do I Describe Thee? Let Me Count the Ways”