The Origin of Species Is Not the Whole Story of Speciation

  Caroline Turner, Richard Lenski, and Zachary Blount, the authors of “Replaying evolution…” Here is one more well-crafted and insightful piece of work from Rich Lenski’s lab, with a twist on the origins and coexistence of bacterial species. As the PLoS ONE editor for this piece, I found Turner et al.’s “Replaying Evolution” piece a … Read more

A Sampling of Plague Throughout Time

By Hannah Steinberg ’16 On Halloween day the number one trending topic on Facebook was “Crook County, Oregon: Teenage Girl Diagnosed With Bubonic Plague.” What is scarier and more holiday-appropriate than this? A young girl in the year 2015 contracted one of history’s deadliest diseases. A bacterium that wiped out a third to half of … Read more

DSMZ’s BacDive Bacterial Diversity Database

I just discovered the DSMZ’s BacDive database, and I’d like to recommend it. BacDive is an eminently searchable metadatabase on 53,978 strains, with information on morphology and physiology, culture and growth conditions, environmental and isolation data, and more. An update was recently described in Nucleic Acids Research. I discovered BacDive while reading an interesting paper … Read more

The Microbes that Never Sleep

by Thomas Kim, Wesleyan ‘16 New York City public transportation moves millions of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut commuters to work every day. If you have ever been on the subway during rush hour, you know how cramped and crowded a subway car can be. Just imagine sardines in a can and that’s what New … Read more

“Can Anything Live Out There?”

This is the most common question Death Valley rangers are asked. Looking across the vast saltpan, with craters and crystalized formations completely devoid of any obvious life, Death Valley looks extraterrestrial. Yet, just underneath the salt, the soil teems with communities of microbes. Microbes are single-celled organisms that are invisible to the unaided eye. They consist primarily of the … Read more