Monthly Archives: June 2004

Life Moving On, #3

Since my last post on this topic, I’ve finished off a second draft of a book chapter and sent it in, and am back to full-time work.

I just had a talk with my surgeon, and everything looks good for follow-up surgery in August. He also plans to do the surgery in one go, not two separate surgery dates. He says that a couple of extras days post-operative with just IV fluids should allow the intestine to heal from the surgery. I should be in the hospital for about 7 days post-op this next time around.

The particular procedure is an ileo-anal anastomosis with a J-pouch. A portion of small intestine is used to form a pouch connected to the anus, and the end of the small intestine is connected to this pouch.

More info on this site: http://www.j-pouch.org/

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Common Worm Provides Insights Into Salmonella Virulence

Common Worm Provides Insights Into Salmonella Virulence

Researchers at Duke University are using a nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, to study virulence mechanisms of Salmonella bacteria. They have found a specific factor, SptP, which is injected into the host via a Type III Secretory System (TTSS) that suppresses the host immune response.

An interesting aspect of the continuing research is that they are using genetic screens on the host nematodes to determine genetic variability and identify which variations confer greater resistance to Salmonella infection. This populational variation is something that is often overlooked in studies that rely on genomic data.

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Some News Items

Discoverer of modern coelacanths dies

The article gives some background on Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and her discovery of an extant coelacanth. The year was 1938, and the place was a fish market in East London, South Africa. It just goes to show that one needs to keep one’s eyes open.

Parting Genomes: UA Biologists Discover Seeds of Speciation

Laura K. Reed and her advisor, Regents’ Professor Therese Markow, made the discovery by observing breeding patterns of fruitflies that live among rotting cacti in western deserts. Whether the two closely related fruitfly populations, designated Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila arizonae, represent one species or two is still debatable among biologists, testament to the Arizona researchers’ assertion that they are in the early stages of diverging into separate species.

The seeds of speciation are sown when distinct factions of a species cease reproducing with one another. When the two groups can no longer interbreed, or prefer not to, they stop exchanging genes and eventually go their own evolutionary ways, forming separate species.

From the article, it sounds like they are planning to locate the genes responsible for the partial reproductive isolation between these populations via genome sequencing and comparison. This research will be something to watch for…

World’s oldest bilaterian fossil found in China

This short article describes, in a rough translation, the discovery by Chen Junyuan and colleagues of an apparent bilaterally symmetric organism from 580MYA. There are some more details in a longer article from Astrobiology Magazine.

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