A meeting next week here in San Francisco will feature leading researchers discussing “open” modes of collaborative discovery with a special emphasis on infectious diseases of the developing world.
Archives for February 2007
On March 1st 2007 the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and Sanofi-Aventis are hosting a round table discussion to celebrate the availability of a new antimalarial treatment, the artesunate/amodiaquine fixed-dose ACT (ASAQ). We invited Jean-René Kiechel and Bernard Pecoul of DNDi to write a personal guest blog that explains why they think the availability of ASAQ is such a milestone.
The amphioxus comes from an ancient evolutionary lineage that diverged from that of mammals some 600 million years ago. Nevertheless, this paper reveals cells and genes in amphioxus that react to microbial pathogens as white blood cells do. This suggests that the adaptive immune system may have appeared even before animals had backbones.
Each year, billions of songbirds migrate across the Mediterranean, apparently unmolested by specific predators. However, stable isotope analysis of blood in greater noctule bats (Nyctalus lasiopterus) now shows that when the journeying birds are available, the bats eat little else. The ability to switch diet between insects in the summer and birds in spring and autumn may be key to this rare bat’s survival.
The earth has experienced several glacial periods in its history. This study presents a model that explains the severity of the Cryogenian glaciation (630–850 million years ago) as a result of the profusion of algae in the seas and attributes its abrupt end to the evolution of more complex organisms. If true, snow and glaciers may be clues to detecting life around distant suns.
There are some lively exchanges going on at Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog at the moment. Ben writes a column in the UK newspaper The Guardian every Saturday exposing quackery, hypocrisy and inaccuracy in the presentation of science to the wider public. This week his topic is target is closed access journals.
Observing micro-organisms in controlled environments can be a powerful approach to testing evolutionary and ecological theories. This study uses the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens to explore how the diversity of communities affects the spread of invading species. The more ecological niches that were occupied, the slower the invasions identifying biodiversity as a major damper of ecological change.