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Humanity Beware, or Humanity Rejoice? Viruses Found ‘Talking’ to Each Other!

What are the effects now that we know virus can talk to each other?

Should we be scared or rejoice with this new finding by scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science? In one of their lab experiments, they accidentally found out that viruses have the ability to communicate with each other. This trait is first observed in bacteria, and is called quorum sensing.

Quorum sensing allows bacteria cells to signal to each other their collective plan of action. With quorum sensing, bacteria can decide whether they need to reproduce more numbers before infecting the host. Or another usage is to decide whether to secrete protective mechanisms against antibiotics.

Dr. Rotem Sorek, the principal scientist for the new viral finding.

Israeli scientists headed by Dr. Rotem Sorek conducted the study. The initial research involved the observation of this quorum sensing trait in a bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. The experiment wanted to note how the bacteria will communicate if they are infected with a phage virus but instead, Sorek found out that the viruses talk to each other too!

The Experiment

Bacterial or virus ‘talk’ is through released proteins and chemicals which gets picked up by other bacteria or viruses and informs them of the mode of action. In Sorek’s experiment, he mixed a flask suspension of B.subtilis and phi3T virus together. As expected, the viruses attacked the bacteria and killed them. Afterwards, he filtered the mixture removing all bacteria and viruses and analyzed the proteins left in the mixture.

Next, he added the mixture containing the “chemical messages” from the first batch and put it in a second flask suspension of B. subtilis and phi3T virus. To his surprise, the viruses changed their mode of action. Instead of directly killing the bacterial cells, the viruses injected their genome in the bacteria.

A colored electron micrograph of viruses

Sorek explained that this may mean viruses can warn other viruses through their chemical secretions that the bacterial hosts are running low and instead of killing the cells, preservation of viral genome must be done. Once bacterial cells infected with viral genome grow in numbers again, that is when they launch their attack.

What are the implications of this finding?

This is the first time that viruses communicating via chemical and protein signals have been proven. This also gives rise to the exciting speculation that other virus types can do quorum sensing too, such as HIV. Scientists are keen on thinking new ways then to use this knowledge of virus communication when designing new treatment methods for HIV and other deadly viral diseases.

Source: Quartz

Sci/Tech

Scientists Create First Human-Pig Embryo Hybrid To Help Produce Donor Organs

Yeah, and then they’ll be able to talk and have these crazy superpowers.

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With the recent advancements in science and technology, more and more stuff that were previously believed to be impossible to accomplish are slowly becoming real, and, not surprisingly, weird. Just like the chimera - a creature lifted off from science fiction novels and animes about a short guy with a metal arm and leg. Thanks to a team of scientists, the previously imaginary creature is now a step closer to being existent.

You see, embryos containing human and pig DNA were produced in a laboratory. They were allowed to grow for weeks but were ultimately destroyed. Scientists say that "technical challenges" made the chimeric embryo formation more difficult.

Chimeras made from human and pig cells are no longer figments of our imagination.

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NASA Releases Stunning Footage of 2005 Landing On Saturn’s Moon, Titan

Behold, our first glimpse at an alien world.

We’ve all wondered what an alien world would look like and now thanks to a footage uploaded by NASA, we do not have to wonder anymore! The video looks like straight from a sci-fi flick except, well, this isn’t a movie but something that actually happened back in 2005.

Taken by NASA’s Huygens probe, the video brings us to the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The footage has been released by the space agency to mark the approaching end of the nearly 20-year Cassini mission because the spacecraft is expected to descend in a self-destruct mission into the fiery planet this year since it is already running low on fuel.

Huygens, a European Space Agency project, journeyed to Titan along with NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

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Research Reveals Drug-Resistant “Nightmare Bacteria” is Rapidly Spreading in Hospitals

Bad news: A potentially deadly drug-resistant bacteria is rapidly and silently spreading in hospitals.

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New evidence pertaining to a more widespread and undetected transmission of multidrug-resistant and potentially deadly superbugs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), tagged as "nightmare bacteria," has been found - and it doesn't look good.

Findings of a new research suggest that CRE is spreading more rapidly and more extensively than previously believed, apparently without causing symptoms thus avoiding detection. A team of researchers studied 250 samples of CRE in four hospitals in the United States and found out that the said bacteria has a diverse variety of species and a huge arsenal of genetic traits that enable them to resist antimicrobial agents. What is more devastating is that these traits are easily transferred among the various species of CRE. The researchers call this a "riot of diversity."

Here is how antibiotic resistance develops:

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