Peters’ Elephantnose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii)
The elephantnose fish is a freshwater fish native to the rivers of West and Central Africa. Their trunk-like protrusion is an extension of the mouth that is covered with sensitive electroreceptors. The fish is able to use these receptors, along with a weak electrical field that it generates through muscular contractions, to find hidden prey and navigate in low visibility conditions.
19 April 2014
BRCA1 Shapes Brains
BRCA1, is a gene most will have heard of in relation to breast and ovarian cancer – BRCA1 mutations are associated with inherited susceptibility to these diseases. However, normal BRCA1 plays an important role in neurodevelopment. Researchers ‘knocked out’ the gene in the mouse central nervous system to find out what its function is there. They noted that among other widespread neural defects in the mutant mice the brain region called the cerebellum (right panel) is at least 50% smaller than that of normal mice (left). And the cells that make up the cerebellum are also very disorganised. Rare cases of similar brain abnormalities have been observed in people with mutated BRCA1. Thus, results generated from such studies of mice are likely to enhance our understanding of human brain development and gene defects associated with neural pathologies.
Written by Rhiannon Grant
New Tool Pinpoints Genetic Sources Of Disease
Scientists have shown a connection between the “map” of genes in the genome and the “map” of reversible chemical changes to DNA, the epigenome. Their finding could help disease trackers find patterns in those overlays that could offer clues to the causes of and possible treatments for complex genetic conditions.
Credit Card-sized Anthrax Detector Aids Agriculture
A credit card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper.
Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can cause serious, often fatal, illness in both humans and animals. The bacteria can survive in harsh conditions for decades. In humans, exposure to B. anthracis may occur through skin contact, inhalation of spores or eating contaminated meat.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/credit-card-sized-anthrax-detector-aids-agriculture
A different take on the typical plant cell diagram. I decided to emphasize the vast quatities of organelles inside just one cell, as opposed to most diagrams that show and label 1-2 of each organelle.
THE SAD TALE OF GROUP A STREPTOCOCCUS
How Harmless Bacteria Were Turned Into Flesh-Eating Monsters
- Though some strep infections can be deadly, many strains are harmless—among the thousands of benign beings that make their home in our bodies.
- But just four changes gave one strain of Streptococcus (Group A Streptococcus, or GAS) the ability to cause deadly disease.
Using genetic sequences from more than 3,600 strains of bacteria (taken from decades’ worth of stored samples), scientists were able to see that it took only four steps to create the pathogen that causes necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria disease.
An international group of researchers sequenced the genomes of group A strep bacteria in samples that had been collected from as early as the 1920s. Those sequences revealed that sometime in the past, group A strep was infected with first one virus [a bacteriophage] and then soon after with another. With each infection, the bacterium gained viral genes that made group A strep more likely to cause disease. [SOURCE: National Geographic 15 April 2014] Continue reading …
[1-3] ELECTRON MICROGRAPHS OF GROUP A STREPTOCOCCUS
 A very high magnification (96,000X) transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a tantalum and tungsten surface replica of a streptococcus positioned at the terminus of a chain of cells. Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology (Rockefeller University) |||  Moving out a bit, here is an electron micrograph from the Nizet Lab at UCSD |||  Photograph by Martin Oeggerli, with support from School of Life Sciences, FHNW: a colorized electron microscope image captures delicate chains of streptococcus in a laboratory sample. Via National Geographic
 GROUP A STREPTOCOCCUS INVADING THE SKIN
As it would in a case of necrotizing fasciitis
Wild-type group A Streptococcus (GAS) serotype M1T1 adheres to and invades epithelial cells. … [from Nature Reviews Microbiology]
 BACTERIOPHAGES LEAVE A DYING STREPTOCOCCUS BACTERIUM
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect (literally, “eat”) bacteria. They can also pass along genes (via “horizontal gene transfer”) to microbes that survive their attack. Some time in the past, such viruses gave GAS the genetic potential to be deadly. Here, bacteriophages are shown escaping from a dying streptococcus bacterium.
Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A Streptococcus (GAS), is an important human pathogen that causes considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. The GAS serotype M1T1 clone is the most frequently isolated serotype from life-threatening invasive (at a sterile site) infections, such as streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. [from Nature Reviews Microbiology]
Baby Squid Photography by Jeannot Kuenzel - Malta
All rights reserved by Jeannot Kuenzel
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Posted on Flickr March 29 and 31, 2014
Two stages of the development of a [European squid] are visible in the picture. These eggs are about 3mm in diameter; when the little squid inside has used up all the nutrients (all the yolk that is attached to it), it plops its suckers to the inside of the diaphragm and releases enzymes that will aid opening the shell, pushing through the opening - and a tiny new ALIEN of the DEEP is born :]
Notice the CHROMATOPHORES already embedded in its skin and the tiny little SIPHON… BTW, the SQUID on the left is actually laying on its back…