What Everyone Should Learn

Posted on May 7, 2005  Comments (0)

If you could teach the world one thing from Spiked (unfortunately they broke all the links so I removed them all). Spiked has published thier survey of 250 Scientists including 11 Nobel laureates in honor of Einstein Year (which marks the centenary of the publication of Albert Einstein’s equation E = mc2). Good stuff, including:

Dr. Vincent Cerf: “I would want people to really understand the theory of evolution and the origin of species. The power of cumulative, adaptive change in the genome, over the course of billions of years and changing conditions, is hard for many people to fully appreciate.”

Dr. Richard Tresch Fienberg: “Science is not a collection of facts, nor is it even a collection of ideas; it is an activity by which curious human beings seek to make sense of the natural world.”

Dr. Simon Best: “I should teach the world the basics of the scientific method per se, and the basic statistical tools that support it. I feel passionately that these are core tools of citizenship, that – once grasped – allow anyone to ask the right questions of scientists and their respective advocates and opponents, whether in the private or the public sector.”

Where Bacteria Get Their Genes

Posted on May 7, 2005  Comments (7)

Where Bacteria Get Their Genes, from Science Daily:

Bacteria acquired up to 90 percent of their genetic material from distantly related bacteria species, according to new research from The University of Arizona in Tucson.

The finding has important biomedical implications because such gene-swapping, or lateral gene transfer, is the way many pathogenic bacteria pick up antibiotic resistance or become more virulent.

Most commonly, genes are transmitted by bacteriophages, viruses that specifically hijack bacteria cells. Like tiny syringes, phages inject their own genetic material into the host cell, forcing it to produce new phages. During such an event, genes from the bacterial genome can be incorporated into the newly made phages. They inject their newly modified genetic load into other bacteria. This way, bacteriophages act as shuttles, taking up DNA from one bacterium and dumping it into another. Bacteria can also make contact by tiny connection tubes through which they exchange pieces of DNA. They can also take up genetic material from the environment.

Curious Cat Overuse of Antibiotics Links