Editor’s Selections: Bacteria using bacteria, color me aphid, and the cause of the Black Death

Editor's Selections 2 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at virology blog.

  • Some bacteria can give each other a helping hand to infect humans. Campylobacter jejuni is microaerophilic: it needs oxygen, but only small amounts. Pseudomonas putida helps C. jejuni grow in aerobic conditions by creating a local microaerophilic microenvironment.
  • Some aphids are colored because they possess fungal genes for making carotenoids. Until now it was thought that only prokaryotes, fungi and plants can can synthesize such pigments, which is why vitamin A—a carotenoid—is a vitamin.
  • There has been debate about whether Yersinia pestis was the infectious agent for Black Death, the disease that ravaged 14th century Europe and killed one-third of its population. Confirmation that Y. pestis caused the Black Death has been obtained from PCR analysis of teeth and bones of human remains from mass graves in England, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands that had been dated to the 14th–17th centuries.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

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2 Responses to “Editor’s Selections: Bacteria using bacteria, color me aphid, and the cause of the Black Death”

  1. Mayra Kindregan Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 9:01 pm

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  2. Sharolyn Says:
    December 6th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

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