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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Video: Microbial Life may sustain in Enceladus environment

Comparing the size of Enceladus (Image: Futurism)
Enceladus is a small moon of Saturn, which is just 502 km in diameter may sustain microbial life according to a recent research published in the journal Science. Cassini spacecraft able to manage to find the icy plumes contain molecular hydrogen. It has the chemistry, energy and atmosphere that can help to sustain microbial life. The question now lies to find whether it is true now.

Video Courtesy: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Pets exposure can reduce Babies risk of Allergies or Obesity

A new Canadian research investigation proved that owing dog or cat may benefit children to gain early immunity to allergies or obesity. The research was led by University of Alberta scientists shown that two important microbes transferred through pets are important contenders to reduce the risk of obesity or allergies.

Anita Kozyrskyj, a pediatric epidemiologist at University of Alberta said, “There’s definitely a critical window of time when gut immunity and microbes co-develop, and when disruptions to the process result in changes to gut immunity”.

Team collected fecal samples of 746 infants, where two bacteria Ruminococcus and Oscillospira were abundant who are exposed to pets (70% were dogs). These two bacteria are known to associate with lower risk of allergies or obesity among children.

Althogh researchers aren’t sure about the exposure was the direct contact with animal fur or indirect contact through humans but pet exposure has been the important factor to affect the gut microbiome indirectly. Pet exposure to pregnant mothers also can be factor for gut immunity for unborn baby.

“It’s not far-fetched that the pharmaceutical industry will try to create a supplement of these microbiomes, much like was done with probiotics,” Kozyrskyj said.

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen NCE).

Journal Source: Microbiome

Sunday, 2 April 2017

80 Million years old Microbes identified from Bees' Gut

80 Million years is a very long time since bees began exhibiting their own social behaviour and they carry over generations of such old bacteria till today inside host bees. A new study published in the journal Science Advances led by researchers from University of Texas identifies such group of bacteria that live in guts of bees and have 80 million years of generation after generation journey. The importance of this finding lies how the social creatures like humans and bees have distinctive relationship with such tiny creatures called bacteria evolving together over such long period of time.

“The fact that these bacteria have been with the bees for so long says that they are a key part of the biology of social bees,” says Nancy Moran, a professor of integrative biology at the university who co-led the research with postdoctoral researcher Waldan Kwong. “And it suggests that disrupting the microbiome, through antibiotics or other kinds of stress, could cause health problems.”

Bees may have acquired their core microbiota around the same time as the transition to social lifestyles. Closely related bees have more similar microbiomes, suggesting co-diversification of host bees and their microbes. Image: Waldan K. Kwong and John. S. Ascher, University of Texas

Different bees have different social life style and they adopt different microbiome in their gut accordingly. In this new research, they identified five species of bacteria that bees took up 80million years ago. Those bacteria able to survive and evolved inside the gut in diversifying way and are specific to different species of bees.

“Most of them can’t live under atmospheric oxygen levels,” says Moran. “They can’t just grow in nectar or on the surface of a plant. They have to be in the bee gut.”

This is also the first time study where they chart the evolution of gut bacteria into animal host. Until now this is the longest evolution of gut bacteria.

A postdoctoral researcher from University of British Columbia, Kwong travelled across Asia to collect bees for such an important project. He has isolated 27 different bees species and sequenced DNA to identify different classes of gut microbiome. For each species they identified they built set of phylogeny or evolution tree. The final result was co-specification, where hundreds of species that are alive today have unique strains of bacterial species shared.

Scientists suggest that these bacteria are typically a symbiont where they can sustain only at guts of certain bees.


Monday, 27 March 2017

Bad Breath with Antibiotic Resistant Microbes when Orca exhale

Orca Whale surfacing (Image: Pixabay)
When an orca breaks the surface water and exhales, the mighty whale sprays along an array of bacteria, among which some are good and some bad. The new research that published in the journal Scientific Reports focused on the potential role of infectious diseases that are important struggling factors for species getting endangered.

Orcas’ breath samples have unveiled the microbes that are capable of causing disease. Among these microbes, some are multidrug resistant to antibiotics that are mostly used by we human beings. This provides a message with huge impact suggesting how humans are contaminating marine environment.

The study was carried out on four year period that provided array of microorganisms involving bacteria and fungi that are exhaled through orca’s breath. Surprisingly there were healthy microorganisms too, but they are worrisome drug-resistant.

"They're recruiting the bacteria in their habitats," said Stephen Raverty, the study's lead author who is a veterinary pathologist with British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford.

Orcas which are immunocompromised can be more susceptible towards such bacteria resulting in respiratory disease.

"These animals are subject to many stressors, which reduce the competence of their immune systems," said marine mammal veterinarian Pete Schroeder, co-author of the paper.

Courtesy: Phys dot Org


Sunday, 26 March 2017

Top Indian Universities under World Rankings 2017

Where are Indian Universities? (Image: Pixabay)

Among Indian Universities Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore ranks on top with 201 world ranking. Here are the top 10 Indian Universities that took place in World Rankings.

World Rank
Name of Institutes
Indian Institute of Science
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
Jadavpur University
Aligarh Muslim University
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
University of Calcutta

Find the top University Rankings 2017 here: get data

Top University Rankings of 2016: get data

Previous University Rankings: get data

World University Rankings 2017

Image from Wikimiedia

Times Higher Education (THE) has published the results of top 980 Universities in the World. THE represented the rankings based on the performance in teaching, knowledge transfer, research and international outlook.

Here are the top 10 Universities from 2017

1. University of Oxford (UK)
2. California University of Technology (US)
3. Stanford University (US)
4. University of Cambridge (UK)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
6. Harvard University (US)
7. Princeton University (US)
8. Imperial College London (UK)
9. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland)
10. University of California, Berkeley (US)
10. University of Chicago (US)

Find the full list of 980 Universities here: get data
Find the list of 2016 University Rankings here: get data

Find all the University Rankings here: get data


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Understanding why the Malaria Vaccine is Ineffective

Vaccines are meant to pre-emptively protect the body from infection, and while it is possible to produce such protective immunity against the early liver stage of malaria infection, that has been a difficult goal to reach in places that are plagued by high rates of malaria infection. Publishing their work in Cell Reports, investigators at the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine may have found an explanation. Malaria have a very complex life cycle, and the investigators found that the latter blood stage of malaria infection can inhibit the formation of protective immune cells, and their antibodies, that would otherwise prevent the early liver stage infection. "The blood stage of malaria infection has a very profound impact on the liver stage immune response, and that impact had never been dissected and visualized at this level," said one author of the work, Marion Pepper, a researcher at UW Medicine and Assistant Professor of Immunology at the UW School of Medicine. "These studies really suggest that you need a vaccine that is protective against both stages of infection to effectively prevent malaria."

To track how the blood stage of malaria infection overpowers the liver stage immune response, Pepper’s research team studied how malaria infection at the blood stage can overpower the immune response to the liver stage with a mouse model. Two groups of mice were infected with different forms of the malaria parasite, one of which was created by study collaborators in the lab of Stefan Kappe, UW Affiliate Professor of Global Health and investigator. This form arrested when it reaches the liver infection stage; the other form continues to develop into the blood infection stage. The researchers determined that six days following infection, mice with the blood stage infection had significantly lower antibodies levels compared to mice infected with the liver-stage parasite. The team wanted to know what was underlying that difference, so they observed Plasmodium liver stage-specific B cells differentiating - becoming a more mature or specialized cell type. B cells are able to differentiate into early effector cells, which secrete antibodies or long-lived memory cells, which can both confer protection against malaria. It was found that 14 days following infection, B cells in mice infected with blood stage malaria parasites did not follow through on the changes required for making rapidly responsive memory cells. But in mice that received the engineered, liver-stage parasite type, B cells could still differentiate, making the necessary memory cells and the antibodies that mount an effective immune response.

"This work really highlights the importance of looking at antigen-specific B cells," said Pepper. "These data also suggest that if you're getting a vaccine while you have an ongoing blood stage infection, there is a chance that the vaccine will not generate good memory cells because the blood stage disrupts all the processes that are involved in making that immunological memory."
The researchers are hopeful that this problem is solvable with the right drugs since they demonstrated that show that if the second stage of the infection is treated with a drug, B cells are then able to make responsive, effective memory cells. While that could still be some time off, this work may help answer questions about malaria vaccine efficacy in areas with high infection rates.

"Malaria has evolved with us throughout human existence and therefore has some potent immune evasion strategies. We really tried to tease apart some of the factors that could be driving the loss of protective immunity during natural infection and with current vaccine strategies in areas of high malaria transmission," explained Pepper. "Our next step is to compare malaria-specific B cells after vaccination or natural infection in humans so we can translate these findings and start to determine how to solve this problem."

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert!  Via Cell Press News, Cell Reports 

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