Blogs about biology

Ebola virus (Image CDC)

An article published in the magazine “Cell Host & Microbe” describes a study on blood samples taken from patients suffering from Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone. A team of researchers coordinated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison thoroughly analyzed the samples and identified several Ebola virus signatures including 11 biomarkers distinguishing between fatal and non-fatal infections and 2 predicting accurately which patients are more likely to die.

Tasmania Stromatolites (Photo courtesy Proemse et al)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of modern organisms that create stromatolites, among the most ancient organisms on Earth, in Tasmania, in an area of ​​the so-called Tasmanian Wilderness, considered by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. During the exploration of karst wetlands, a group of researchers came across these rare organisms, the first discovered in Tasmania and thus useful in understanding the evolution and the almost disappearance of organisms that in ancient times were very common.

Some environments in which microbes were sampled

An article published in the journal “Nature” presents a meta-analysis of microbial samples collected by hundreds of researchers from the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP), which pursues a systematic globally attempt to classify microbes. The researchers established protocols and new analytical methods to manage the results of genetic sequencing of bacteria and archaea in multiple studies. Our knowledge of these microorganisms remains limited but this project will allow to expand them and better understand their impact on the ecosystems they’re part of.

Sea sediments examined to look for bacteria (Photo courtesy Michael Graw/ University of Delaware)

An article published in the journal “Environmental Microbiology” describes a study on a group of bacteria called Parcubacteria, a group that could be so large that it could be a superphylum. A team of scientists studied these bacteria that were found during the Deepsea Challenge expedition in the Mariana Trench by director James Cameron, who is among the authors of the article, to understand their characteristics with similarities and differences from bacteria living on the mainland.

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the human Microbiome, the whole group of microorganisms that live in the human body, sometimes in symbiosis with it but sometimes as parasites. A team of researchers from various American institutions analyzed a lot of microbes discovering millions of genes so far unknown. This will allow to take a leap forward in understanding their role in human’s health and in diseases.