Animalcules 1.9

Welcome to the June edition of Animalcules! Apologies for the lateness; I only had a few minutes to get online yesterday, and that was mainly devoted to checking email and making sure there were no crises that needed my attention. So, without further ado…

From the Scientific Creative Quarterly comes a humorous entry: Prokaryotes of America Unite. Almost makes me feel bad. (You also may want to check out Scientific Creative Quarterly editor David Ng’s new blog here at Scienceblogs: The World’s Fair.

Jennifer over at Science Matters has a nice post discussing background information on something that’s always a hot topic here at Aetiology: HIV. Specifically, she discusses HIV emergence and treatment.

A newcomer to Animalcules, at The neurophilosopher’s blog brings us a post on newly discovered bacteriophage, discussing a paper in the journal Cell. Even better about the story is that several authors on the paper are high school students.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium of the month over at Viva la evolucion!. Specifically, he sends along a post discussing the evolution of M. tuberculosis and M. leprae–the latter of which is another example of gene loss during evolution.

afarensis sends us a post from, describing effots to save rare cave paintings from a fungal infection. It’s a nice–and sad–example of how the changes we make in an ecosystem can have unexpected consequences.

Scienceblogs newcomer Mike the Mad Biologist writes about an antibiotic we may have lost before it even got off the ground.

Ruth at the Biotech Weblog sends along two submissions. First, she highlights an emphasis at last month’s American Society for Microbiology meeting: energy-producing bacteria. Check it out for a bit on electricity-producing, ethanol-producing, and even detergent-producing bacteria. Next, she writes about a novel way to take care of your pearly whites: a vaccine against Streptococcus mutans, a major agent of dental caries.

Over at Complex Medium, Ewen sends us “The Irony of RNA Interference”. This is yet another way pathogens work to subvert host defenses, and a topic I’ve been meaning to write on (and research a bit, as I’ve not kept up on the literature in that field)–Ewen’s excellent post has saved me some work.

I also want to point everyone–and especially those who aren’t in the infectious disease field–to a post over at Effect Measure (also new to Scienceblogs). Revere has an overview of some terminology: Pathogenicity, virulence, and transmission–a nice primer for those who’ve always been a bit fuzzy on what the terms mean.

Finally, for my own submission, I want to re-emphasize Scienceblog’s science funding challenge. (My post about the challenge is here). As of yesterday, Janet notes that Scienceblogs readers have already raised $3000 for the cause–an incredible start, and proof that readers here simply rock. The challenge runs through July 1st, so if you’re able, check out everyone’s challenges and kick in a few dollars.