News » Chapter 22 Evolution: Implications for Microbiology

Adenovirus capable of jumping from monkey to human discovered.

Contributed by mprosenberg on Aug 10, 2013 - 03:33 PM

Adenoviruses are a family of viruses that commonly infect human beings, causing anything from cold and flu-like symptoms to death depending on the particular virus and health of the infected individual. Viruses can only infect cells that have specific receptors on their outer membrane. These receptors are often very specific which is why viruses are usually limited to a particular species. However, a newly discovered adenovirus has been found to jump between primate species and humans. The adenovirus, called titi monkey adenovirus (TMAdV), was first found when it nearly wiped out a colony of New World titi monkeys at the National Primate Center in California four years ago. At the time symptoms of adenovirus infection were found in a human researcher. These symptoms were serologically proven to be caused by the titi monkey adenovirus.



Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

Contributed by georgen on Aug 03, 2013 - 10:57 AM

For many years, scientists have defined speciation as an evolutionary event by which a new species arises due to genetic drift. However, a new study suggests that species may diverge because of the microbes in their gut, not their DNA. Biologists Seth Bordenstein and Robert Brucker of Vanderbilt University studied this phenomenon in three different species of parasitic jewel wasps, tiny insects that drill into fly pupae and allow their eggs to feed on the host. 



Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

Contributed by rsingh26 on Jul 22, 2013 - 02:03 PM

Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera and is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. A study conducted in Bangladesh has provided researchers evidence that the human body has developed ways to combat this disease. Researchers have discovered that, due to the high prevalence of cholera, the genomes of individuals in Bangladesh have been altered to fight off cholera. These findings also exemplify how human evolution is still occurring in this day-and-age.



Cases of cholera have been discovered all throughout the world, but the most prevalent area of cholera infections is the Ganges River of India and Bangladesh. In fact, cholera has been prevalent in this area for more than a thousand years. The microbe is responsible for causing diarrhea and promoting severe dehydration, which can cause death within a few hours if not treated.



 


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