Researchers from The Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh have shown that a strain of bacteria has jumped from humans to chickens.
It is believed to be the first clear evidence of bacterial pathogens crossing over from humans to animals and then spreading since animals were first domesticated some 10,000 years ago.
The study identified a form of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus – of which MRSA is a subtype – in chickens, and found that the bacteria originally came from humans.
Genetic testing showed that the bacteria crossed over from one species to another around 40 years ago, coinciding with a move towards intensive poultry farming practices.
In comparison to the corresponding form of Staphylococcus aureus in humans, which was isolated to one geographical area, the strain in chickens was spread across different continents.
Infectious diseases in chicken flocks are a major economic burden on the industry and the spread of bacteria from humans to chickens could have a huge impact on poultry farming. If bacteria are also shown to be crossing over from humans to other livestock then there could be an impact on food security.
Dr. Ross Fitzgerald, of The Roslin Institute, said: "Half a century ago chickens were reared for their eggs, with meat regarded as a by-product. Now the demand for meat has led to a poultry industry dominated by a few multinational companies which supply a limited number of breeding lines to a global market - thereby promoting the spread of the bacteria around the world."
The bacteria are a major cause of animal diseases, including bone infections in poultry. Further research will look at analysing other livestock for emerging pathogens and diseases which may have come from humans.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
*The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences