Insects and other invertebrates are the arena for the evolution of new infectious diseases in humans, new research shows.
Scientists now believe that not only are insects the carriers of some existing diseases but they are also the vehicle where recently emerging highly infectious diseases, such as the plague that killed millions in the 14th and 17th Centuries, evolve. Writing in the October edition of Nature Reviews: Microbiology, the researchers point to the large reservoir of diseases in invertebrates, such as fleas and nematode worms, which are currently harmless to humans, but which could evolve quickly into a range of new diseases.
As part of their research, Dr Nick Waterfield and Professor Richard ffrench-Constant (correct) from the University of Bath, and Professor Brendan Wren, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, are studying a new disease-causing (pathogenic) bacterium that has been identified in about a dozen people in the USA and Australia. Their study looked at the bioluminescent bacterium, Photorhabdus asymbiotica, which cause pustulent sores to appear on parts of sufferers¡¦ bodies. The researchers suspect that this new bacterium evolved recently from a well-known bacterium, Photorhabdus luminescens, which kills insects with the help of nematode worms.
Andrew McLaughlin | EurekAlert!
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Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
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Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
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