Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Staff Infection Strain of Bacteria Responsible for Widespread Epidemics: Simple Genetic Mutation is All that Separates it from Infecting Humans

""The study - reported in Nature Genetics - suggests bacteria may be able to jump between host species more easily than we previously thought.

In their paper, the scientists describe how they traced the evolution of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ST121 in rabbits, where it can cause serious skin infections.
In humans, ST121 is found in the respiratory tract and on the skin of some people. It is usually harmless, but it can lead to a range of conditions - from minor infections to meningitis and sepsis.

One genetic change caused human-specific bacteria to jump to rabbits

In their study, the team found that rabbit-specific ST121 "evolved through a likely human-to-rabbit host jump over 40 years ago," and that only a single, naturally occurring mutation was all that was required.
The team believes theirs is the first study to report a single mutation is sufficient to alter the host species of a pathogen during its evolution and to highlight the capacity for disease-causing microorganisms to "readily expand into new host species populations.""

Mutations Report:

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