SMASHED ON SCIENCE
The debut of the ‘Pint of Science‘ festival recently took over Exeter pubs, and Exeposé Science and Tech are here to give you the best bits, and fill you in on what you may have missed.
Solene Long provides a short snippet from the presentation “Bacterial Pathogens and their natterings” , hosted by Dr Matt Robinson at The Rusty Bike.
Evolution is happening all the time, and according to Professor Robert Beardmore, this is not justa theory. If you have nothing better to do during these long, post-exam days, you can even directly observe this in your kitchen by evolving drug resistant bacteria (might want to check this with your housemates first).
All you need is a glass, some Lucozade, marmite, water, an antibiotic and your microwave. The varying internal chemical states in different bacterial cells causes mutations in their genetic information, and voila, after a while your bacteria may evolve antibiotic-resistance.
This type of modelling experiment actually highlights the incredibly important issue of drug-resistance in human pathogens during infection treatment, where approximately 3 new mutations can occur per week.
The human gut, containing about 2L of bacteria regularly exposed to
various antibiotics is thus considered an important evolutionary “hotspot”, and is contains many different, interacting species. The richness of this microbiota is thought to affect our health, for example playing a role in obesity – lower bacterial diversity correlates with weight as well as other factors such as insulin resistance.
Therefore, changes in the microbiota, for example due to antibiotic
treatment, can have negative impacts on health. So how can you replace any losses in diversity?
Let’s all welcome the new era of faecal transplants. Yay.
For more of our ‘Pint of Science’ articles (Smashed on Science), click here!