Monday, 19 September 2011

Bacteria genome decoded from a single cell.

Microscope image of the glass capillary being used
to capture a bacterial cell during micromanipulation. 
Until now, billions of copies were needed to analyze one bacterium with 95% completeness.  This only worked for the few kinds we have been able to cultivate in the lab.   A new technique works with a single cell and achieves a comparable 90% accuracy.  Thousands of completely inaccessible bacteria will soon be decoded, thanks to this breakthrough with improved software algorithms.  Researchers calibrated the technique on the familiar E. Coli and then explored beyond.  Science Daily News
"This (90%) provides enough data to answer many important biological questions, such as what antibiotics a species of bacteria produces. It also, for the first time, enables researchers to perform in-depth studies to figure out which proteins and peptides the bacteria living in human beings use to communicate with each other and with their host".
" Bacteria ... make up about 10 percent of the weight of the human body, "says the article.  Link suggests closer to 5% but still an astounding number.  The likelihood is that most of them pay their freight to be on board and we know little about what they do.  Then there are viruses to consider too.  A story today on vesicular stomatitis virus shows it actively prevents some cancers.

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