Current Event Summaries by Maryam H.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Maryam H.

  1. Maryam Hafeez says:

    Title: Antibiotic Resistant Genes Prevalent in Groundwater
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105627.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Climate change is making the threat of water shortages more real than ever before. But this is not the only problem. There are new antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs), that are contaminating the water, and leading to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Professor Adam Smith from the University of Southern California and a team of researchers recently conducted a study in which they measured the amount of ARGs in an advanced water treatment plant and in a groundwater aquifer. They found that the water in the plant was nearly free of ARGs while the water from the groundwater aquifer had a very high amount of ARGs. There are two types of water treatment methods, indirect and direct. Indirect methods are when the water is sent to a lake or river before returning to the treatment plant to be purified, while indirect treatment methods, the water is sent straight to the treatment plant. Although many prefer indirect methods over direct methods, scientists say that water which gets treated indirectly is at a greater risk of having higher amounts of ARGs in it. ARGs are found naturally in the environment, and when the water returns there it is at higher risk of getting contaminated. ARGs have also begun to increase because of the overuse of antibiotics. When water gets treated directly, it goes through a series of treatment plants, including the wastewater plant. The water that goes through the indirect treatment method also goes through this plant before being released into the environment. The wastewater plant itself does not cleanse the water of ARGs, and the water that gets sent back to the environment has an already high concentration of ARGs that will only increase. This also causes another problem, because when ARGs and the bacteria in the environment meet, the ARGs horizontally transfer their genes to the bacteria which increases resistance. Scientists believe that the most efficient way to treat water is through direct methods.

    Personal Reaction:
    I was very interested and surprised by this article. I knew that bacteria had begun to develop resistance to antibiotics, but I never knew that this would affect water. It was also surprising to learn that water shortages and the ARGs are becoming a real problem and fast because having clean water anytime you turn on your tap is something that is taken for granted. This article also provided insight into how exactly water gets to the tap and all the things that have to be done before and all the problems that need to be solved such as ARGs. I never really thought about that before. It was also interesting to learn that water is actually more easily and effectively cleaned if it doesn’t go back to the environment and instead goes straight to the treatment plants again. One thing that this article mentions is horizontal gene transfer, which we learned about in class.

  2. Maryam Hafeez says:

    Title: Weak Spot in Pathogenic Bacteria
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105648.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary:
    More and more antibiotics are becoming useless as more bacteria develop resistance. This is leading to more fatalities. To help solve this problem, scientists are researching pathogenic bacteria to find weak points that can be targeted by new antibiotics. They found an enzyme called ClpP which is responsible for the metabolism of the bacteria and the breaking down of damaged proteins. In order to break the proteins down correctly, the enzyme uses another protein to help it which is ClpX. ClpX finds the damaged proteins, unfolds them, and then leads them to the ClpP where they will eventually be broken down. A new type of antibiotics that could be used are the acyldepsipeptide (ADEP) antibiotics. These ADEPs would work by attaching onto the ClpP at the exact same spot as the ClpX, but the ADEP would change the structure of the ClpP which would lead to the breaking down of perfectly healthy proteins and kill the bacteria. This new antibiotic works in a different way from other antibiotics because it starts a process while most other antibiotics kill bacteria by hindering important processes of the bacteria. The ClpP enzyme also makes the bacterial toxins which make the pathogen capable of causing disease. Scientists are working to make antibiotics that could stop the ClpP from making these toxins.

    Personal Reaction:
    I really liked this article. I found it very interesting and informative. I think that the research these scientists are doing is very important, because they are saving lives, and impacting how antibiotics will be made in the future. Something else that really interested me in this article that I didn’t know before was that the bacteria makes toxins that make it capable of causing disease. That really fascinated me. Although I knew about antibiotic resistance before reading this article, I didn’t know that making new antibiotics was very difficult. Hopefully, with the research these scientists are doing, making new antibiotics will become faster and easier. In class, we learned about enzymes and their functions in chapter 2, and this article relates to that because it talked about the enzyme ClpP and what it does.

  3. Maryam Hafeez says:

    Title: Rare View into the Formation of Viruses
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004132338.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Recently, scientists have taken the first steps into discovering how viruses form. This has never been done before and could help in fighting viruses. Scientists knew what the structure of the virus was, but they didn’t know how it self-assembled. Professor Vinothan Manoharan from Harvard and his research team studied the RNA virus which has a single strand and is the most common virus. The proteins in this virus arrange themselves into different shapes and then form into a structure around the RNA. This structure is known as a capsid. Scientists used a special type of microscope to figure out how a capsid forms. This microscope portrays the objects as darker spots in a larger light field. It shows how the size of a capsid changes over time. There were two different hypotheses about how the structure formed. One was that the proteins would attach to the RNA in no particular order and then arrange it into a capsid. The other hypothesis was that a nucleus had to be formed of proteins before the capsid could be made. The observations the scientists made supported the second hypothesis. Some of the viruses were taking longer to form, and that was because their nuclei were taking longer to form. Once the nucleus had been formed, the virus would grow at a fast pace. The scientists also came to the conclusion that the growth of the nucleus had to be in balance with the growth of the capsid, otherwise, the virus would not form correctly. This information can be used in potentially creating something that could stop viruses from assembling. There are still unanswered questions left, such as how the nuclei themselves form, but with all this new information, finding the answers to those questions will become easier.

    Personal Reaction:
    I found this article very intriguing and I think that this research is very important. It would be exciting if scientists used this information to discover a way to stop viruses from forming. That could save many lives. Something that stood out from this article for me was the type of microscope they used and how it worked. I just think that it was very interesting how the viruses had to be shown in the field of light because they were so small. I think that this is a very creative method to see especially small things. Some other facts that I learned that I thought were very interesting were about the RNA and the numerous amount of diseases it causes. It’s strange how just one type of virus can cause many different and various types of diseases. One thing from this article that I thought was related to our class was the scientific method. The scientists used the scientific method to perform this experiment, and we learned about that and applied it to the experiments we did in class.

  4. Maryam Hafeez says:

    Title: Scientists Find Timekeepers of Gut’s Immune System
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004143818.htm
    Author(s): Tamara Bhandari
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Most people have a routine that they follow most days of their lives. The digestive system also follows a routine that is affected by a person’s daily activities. For example, the digestive system does certain things when a person is awake such as absorbing nutrients, and other things when a person is sleeping, such as replacing damaged cells. However, when the daily routine or circadian pattern is upset by things like jet lag or night shifts, it impacts the digestive system as well. This is because there are a certain type of cells located in the intestine called the type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3) which are a type of immune cells and are like the clocks of the intestine. These cells are directly impacted by the circadian rhythm, and when it gets upset, so do the cells. Since ILC3 cells are immune cells, when this happens, fighting off disease becomes more difficult which is why many people tend to get stomach related problems if they are not getting enough sleep. The ILC3 cells work by maintaining a barricade between the cells of the intestine and the bacteria that reside there, and by creating molecules that assist the intestine in identifying the difference between harmless and harmful bacteria and microbes. The reason why ILC3 cells are in sync with the circadian rhythm is so they can tell when what substances will arrive in the intestine and then get the intestine ready for them. These things were observed by Professor Marco Colonna and his students when they ran tests on mice. They had two groups of mice and removed the ILC3 cells of one group and left the others as they were. The group that had the cells removed could not fight against bacteria, while the other group could. Scientists are going to study ILC3 cells further and try to come up with new ideas that could help with the disruption of these cells.

    Personal Reaction:
    This article interested me the most out of all the ones that I have read. It was also a little bit shocking. I knew that upsetting your sleeping pattern or not getting enough sleep was bad for you, but I never knew that it could cause this many problems. I did not know that your internal clock would affect so much of your body. It leaves me to wonder what else gets affected by it. I found this article very amazing. Some things that really fascinated me were how the ILC3 cells worked and how they were directly related to the circadian rhythm. That really fascinated me. I believe that this research is very important because it could solve many problems that people who work night shifts or others who don’t have steady sleeping patterns encounter in their lives.

  5. Maryam Hafeez says:

    Title: Genome-Edited Bull Passes on Hornless Trait to Calves
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191007113323.htm
    Author(s): Amy Quinton
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 7, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Scientists recently edited the genomes of a bull to make it hornless. When the bull reproduced, four out of its six calves got the edited gene and are hornless. The other two calves are also hornless, but they inherited the natural hornless allele. Tests performed on the calves showed that all of them were healthy and were not negatively affected by genome editing. The bull that had been genome-edited had an extra fragment of bacterial DNA in it. That bacteria is called a plasmid, and it is what caused the bull to be hornless. In addition to the plasmid, the bull already had two natural hornless alleles in its DNA. These results were confirmed by researchers at both the University of California Davis, who ran the experiment and by experts at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The scientists were not anticipating the offspring of the bull growing horns, and none of them did, but different offspring received different hornless alleles. The calves that got just the natural hornless alleles will have the plasmid incorporated into their DNA through the technique of plasmid integration. The plasmids are not bad for the animals and all of them were in good health while they were being studied. Hornless cows are needed on farms because the chances that they will attack someone lessen when they don’t have horns. Oftentimes, the horns are removed in a cruel manner, which can be bad for the cows. With genome editing, their horns can be removed in a much more humane manner.

    Personal Reaction:
    I really liked this article and thought it was a good read. I have heard of genome editing in the past, and I have always thought it to be very interesting. I really like the fact how they were using the gene-editing for a good cause here because it causes the animals less pain. People often debate whether or not gene editing is ethical, but in some special cases like this one, it would be better to use it than to not. I was really intrigued by the science behind everything, especially how the plasmid smoothly integrated into the bull’s DNA, and how it was passed on to the offspring.

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