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No Sex For 40 Million Years? No Problem

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 20, 2007

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A group of organisms that has never had sex in over 40 million years of existence has nevertheless managed to evolve into distinct species, says new research published today. The study challenges the assumption that sex is necessary for organisms to diversify and provides scientists with new insight into why species evolve in the first place 

The research, published in PLoS Biology, focuses on the study of bdelloid rotifers, microscopic aquatic animals that live in watery or occasionally wet habitats including ponds, rivers, soils, and on mosses and lichens. These tiny asexual creatures multiply by producing eggs that are genetic clones of the mother — there are no males. Fossil records and molecular data show that bdelloid rotifers have been around for over 40 million years without sexually reproducing, and yet this new study has shown that they have evolved into distinct species.

Using a combination of DNA sequencing and jaw measurements taken using a scanning electron microscope, the research team examined bdelloid rotifers living in different aquatic environments across the UK, Italy and other parts of the world. They found genetic and jaw-shape evidence that the rotifers had evolved into distinct species by adapting to differences in their environment.

Dr Tim Barraclough from Imperial College London’s Division of Biology explained: “We found evidence that different populations of these creatures have diverged into distinct species, not just because they become isolated in different places, but because of the differing selection pressures in different environments.

“One remarkable example is of two species living in close proximity on the body of another animal, a water louse. One lives around its legs, the other on its chest, yet they have diverged in body size and jaw shape to occupy these distinct ecological niches. Our results show that, over millions of years, natural selection has caused divergence into distinct entities equivalent to the species found in sexual organisms.”

Previously, many scientists had thought that sexual reproduction was necessary for speciation because of the importance of interbreeding in explaining speciation in sexual organisms. Asexual creatures like the bdelloid rotifers were known not to be all identical, but it had been argued that the differences might arise solely through the chance build-up of random mutations that occur in the ‘cloning’ process when a new rotifer is born. The new study proves that these differences are not random and are the result of so-called ‘divergent selection’, a process well known to cause the origin of species in sexual organisms.

Dr Barraclough adds: “These really are amazing creatures, whose very existence calls into question scientific understanding, because it is generally thought that asexual creatures die out quickly, but these have been around for millions of years.

“Our proof that natural selection has driven their divergence into distinct species is another example of these miniscule creatures surprising scientists — and their ability to survive and adapt to change certainly raises interesting questions about our understanding of evolutionary processes.”

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Imperial College London.

Science Daily


Posted in Gaffer's, news, Scientific | 10 Comments »

Study: Antiviral protein may fight Ebola

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 20, 2007

German scientists have found an antiviral protein shown to inhibit other viruses might protect against Ebola and Marburg virus infections.

The Ebola and Marburg viruses belong to the Filoviridae family and cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates. Filovirus infections are characterized by high fever, hemorrhages and shock and are responsible for mortality rates up to 90 percent. Currently, there is no vaccine or therapy available for treating infected patients.

In a previous study researchers found the zinc finger antiviral protein, or ZAP, capable of inhibiting Moloney murine leukemia virus and Sindbis virus replication.

In the new study, ZAP was tested for its antiviral activity in cells infected with Ebola and Marburg. Results showed up to 95 percent inhibition of Ebola, while Marburg was less significantly inhibited suggesting the antiviral effectiveness of ZAP may depend on the filovirus species.

The study conducted at the Bernhard-Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg is reported in the Journal of Virology.

Posted in Gaffer's, news, Scientific | 4 Comments »

Bacterial Virus Gene Confers Disease Resistance In Tall Fescue Grass

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 20, 2007

Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that inserting a specific gene from a bacterial virus into tall fescue grass makes the grass resistant to two of its biggest enemies
The NC State researchers showed that the inserted gene – the T4 lysozyme gene, a gene found in bacteriophages, or bacterial viruses – conferred high resistance to gray leaf spot disease in six of 13 experimental grasses. Three of the six resistant grasses also showed high resistance to brown patch disease. These two diseases are arguably the most important – and severe – fungal diseases affecting tall fescue grass.

The finding has the potential to have wide applications in engineering resistance to a variety of fungal diseases in not only tall fescue grass – the most widely planted turfgrass in North Carolina and a commonly utilized grass in the southeastern United States – but various other crops.

The collaborative research involves four faculty members: Dr. Ron Qu in the Department of Crop Science, Drs. H. David Shew and Lane Tredway from the Department of Plant Pathology, and Dr. Eric Miller, in the Department of Microbiology. The research was mainly performed by Dr. Shujie Dong, a post-doctoral researcher who was a graduate student of Qu’s, with assistance from two other scientists in Qu’s lab – Drs. Jianli Lu and Elumalai Sivamani.

About half of the turfgrass planted in North Carolina – one million acres – is tall fescue grass, a cool-season grass that has a high tolerance for the heat and drought of North Carolina summers, Tredway says. It is ubiquitous in the Southeast, found on lawns, golf courses and commercial acreages.

Gray leaf spot disease is caused by the Magnaporthe grisea fungus, the pathogen that also causes rice blast – the major disease of rice plants. Gray leaf spot causes round or oval tan spots that turn gray when there’s high humidity. It infects blades to make the grasses die rapidly.

Brown patch disease, caused by the soil-dwelling fungus Rhizoctonia solani, a major pest to various plant species, brings about circular, brown lesions on grass. Lawns with brown patch disease appear wilted, even if watered sufficiently, the researchers say.

Miller, the microbiologist, says that the bacterial viruses exist widely in different environments, and produce an array of products that are harmful to bacteria; as viruses attempt to spread, which they need to do in order to survive and thrive, the T4 lysozyme gene produces the enzymes that chew through the bacterial cell walls.

Miller says that the lysozyme now made by the grass does essentially the same thing to a fungus when it tries to infect, thereby providing anti-fungal properties in tall fescue and allowing the grass to withstand fungal disease.

Tredway says the benefits of potential applications may be felt economically and environmentally.

“A lot of money is spent on fungicides, which also have an impact on the environment,” he said. “Disease-resistant plants have the potential to reduce those economic and environmental impacts for many years.”

Qu says that future research will replicate this experiment in the field, rather than just in the lab, and that other disease resistance genes show anti-fungal properties in tall fescue. He also hopes to study how the group’s genetically altered plants interact with other important fungal diseases to further test their anti-fungal mettle.

Much of the work was funded by NC State’s Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education and the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina.

Reference: “Expression of the Bacteriophage T4 Lysozyme Gene in Tall Fescue Confers Resistance to Gray Leaf Spot and Brown Patch Diseases”

Authors: Shujie Dong, H. David Shew, Lane P. Tredway, Jianli Lu, Elumalai Sivamani, Eric S. Miller and Rongda Qu, North Carolina State University

Published: February 2007 in Transgenic Research

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by North Carolina State University.

Source: North Carolina State University

Posted in Gaffer's, news, Scientific | 3 Comments »

Protein Found In Chickens May Help Protect Against Food-Borne Pathogens

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 20, 2007

Researchers from The Netherlands have identified a protein in the digestive tract of chickens that may serve as an antimicrobial agent against food-borne pathogens. They report their findings in the March 2007 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

Food-borne pathogens, responsible for most cases of food poisoning in developed countries, are commonly affiliated with poultry products including chicken. Therapeutic doses of antibiotics in chicken feed have been administered since the 1950s, but are now discouraged due to increasing rates of antibiotic resistance.

In the study researchers tested for B-defensin gallinacin-6 (Gal-6) protein expression in chickens and explored antimicrobial activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as yeast. Researchers observed high expression of Gal-6 in the esophagus and crop and moderate expression in the glandular stomach. Colony-counting tests showed strong bactericidal activity against Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens, and Escherichia coli, all major food-borne pathogens. Fungicidal activity was also noted. In a kill-curve study results showed treatment with Gal-6 reduced C. perfringens survival within sixty minutes.

“In conclusion, to our knowledge, this is the first report of a chicken B-defensin highly expressed in the digestive tract and displaying strong bactericidal activity against food-borne pathogens.” say the researchers.

(A. van Dijk, E.J.A. Veldhuizen, S.I.C. Kalkhove, J.L.M. Tjeerdsma-van Bokhoven, R.A. Romijn, H.P. Haagsman. 2006. The B-defensin gallinacin-6 is expressed in the chicken digestive tract and has antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 51. 3: 912-922.)

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by American Society for Microbiology. (Science Daily — )

Posted in Gaffer's, Scientific | Leave a Comment »

One more site for you

Posted by tumicrobiology on January 3, 2007

Dear all,

 Biology, Health and Medicine for the Third World has

come forth with another site that may be helpful to you.

Door to Science.”

 It’s url in .com is : itsnotsecret.blogspot

We hope you know about: healthandbiology.blogspot




All sites are to be opened as “”

Make maximum use of our joint venture.

All the best

Gaffer, NMDF

Posted in Gaffer's | 6 Comments »

An Important Notice

Posted by tumicrobiology on December 20, 2006

Dear all, 

We, in collaboration with our partner HealthandBiology, are going to launch our next site very soon.

There will be more features and more gifts to you!

A gate way to the Nepali journals and much more. We are negotiating with Nepali journal publishers.

You will be fascinated with what we are bringing, if we succeed.

Pray for our success.

Thanking you,

Gaffer, NMDF

Posted in Gaffer's, Notices | Leave a Comment »

Nepal Microbiology Discussion Forum (NMDF)

Posted by tumicrobiology on November 22, 2006

Now from TUMDF we have been NMDF. You will get a lot of things from us. Just wait.

Posted in Gaffer's | 38 Comments »

Researh consortium

Posted by tumicrobiology on July 12, 2006

Dear TU Microbiologists,
Here is a notice for you all. We hope you will make maximum use of the opportunity that this notice colligates.

Meanwhile, thanks to Keshav, liasion of the TU Microbiology Discussion Forum (TUMDF), who has sent us the information and the dossier regarding this, which was infact provided to him by Dr. Anjana Singh, Head of Department of Central Department of Microbiology, TU.

Of course, we should thank Dr. Pramod Aryal and the stakeholding organistions for coming forward with research opportunites to the students at the CDM, TU.
We will love seeing your comments on the topic.

Moreover, if you contact us seeking our assistance

regarding finding materials viz; scientific papers

published in different journals and some other

information on the topic, which may be helpful to you,

we are always ready to serve you.

So feel free to write.

Thanking you,

Gaffer, TUMDF



Dr. Pramod Aryal would like to announce the vacancy seats for Research Consortium between Central Department of Nepal, Leaders Nepal and Unibiotechs Pvt. Ltd. Nepal. 

Possible Topics for Study site in Rupendehi District, Nepal 

1. Arsenic poisoning

2. Arsenic testing

3. Molecular epidemiological marker development

4. Protein development in arsenic protein degrading bacteria for the mitigation 

Venue: Rupendehi district- free shelter, carry sleeping bags, food on your own cost 

Research Assistantship: 3-5 students from present running environment microbiology M.Sc.  

Internship Assistantship: approximately Rs. 10,000-15,000 (Nepali currency) depending upon funding  

Necessities (Selection Bases):

  1. personal biodata
  2. at least 2 pages proposal with literature review
  3. OHP presentation 3-5 on the interview day
  4. Score will be given by the academic performance of the student (Proposal, interview etc.)
  5. one concern faculty from the department (CDM), one member from the Leaders Nepal and one member from Unibiotechs Pvt. Ltd. Nepal will be present for the interview and presentation for the selection of the research student
  6. deadline for the submission is 25th June 2006 at  CDM, TU


Please contact Dr. Promod Aryal

Ph.No. 4419091 (o)


Posted in CDM notice, CDM/HOD, Gaffer's | 8 Comments »

Liaison nominated

Posted by tumicrobiology on March 24, 2006

Dear all,
TU Microbiology Discussion Forum (TUMDF) nominates Mr. Keshav P Koirala as its liaison.

We will announce nomination of volunteers in the recent future. For that, we are looking forward towards your approach.

If you have any comment on our nomination, please feel free to make that public by posting here.

Gaffer, TUMDF

Posted in Gaffer's, Notices | 1 Comment »


Posted by tumicrobiology on February 23, 2006

Hi all,

You can send us your email to


We request you to send your articles and comments on both of these addresses. 

All the best

Gaffer, TUMDF

Posted in Gaffer's, Notices | 1 Comment »

Attention TU Microbiologists! We’re here for you

Posted by tumicrobiology on February 21, 2006

TU Microbiology Discussion Forum (TUMDF) is a newly formed platform for the TU Microbiologists – all teachers, graduates, and students for discussing anything about and of the Central Department of Microbiology, TU, affiliated colleges and, naturally, Microbiology. We are a surreptitious, non-profit motive group found by some Microbiology enthusiasts –all TU products– living both abroad and in Nepal.  

However, we need your help.

And, is our official website –actually a growing blogsite– through which we aim to discuss whatever TU Microbiology- related issues you like with you. 

This all for promoting you Microbiology buffs! Hence, TU Microbiology graduates, students, teachers and anyone interested in or related to the CDM as well as other private colleges may join the club.

If you are student, do not hesitate to write about what you feel about your teachers, your department, the academic environment over there and, your problems.

If you are teacher, feel free to discuss issues with your students; write what sort of problems you do have while dealing with the student….

If you are TU Microbiology graduates living and working abroad, you can do much more…And you may decide whatever you want to do.

If you have any article related to Microbiology and the fields related, send it to us. Besides the factual writings, commentaries also are welcome. 

For that, you may hide your identity –– if you want. However, it would be appreciated if you venture to be “yourself.” 

Though we are a blogsite, the language you speak in should be is decent and diplomatic. Provided this if fulfilled, any sort of article you send to us, or comments you post can be published. Moreover, you may give messages to your colleagues. And wherever you are, you may be in touch with them. 

If the CDM and other colleges want, they may give notices to the student and others via this site. The teachers too may make maximum use of this by posting “lecture notes.” What is more, it is suggested that you read and mull over the comments your students make over you.  

To contact you all in public, we, in recent future, will nominate a liaison among you. For that you have to approach us. Our email is

Hoping that you will make maximum use of us,

Gaffer, TUDMF,

Posted in Gaffer's, Notices, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »