Summary of Reading for 4/17/14



Genetic Signature of Bacterial Pathogen Adaptation During Chronic Pulmonary Infection

            The main point of this article was to review and summarize the research project done by another group of scientists. These scientists were trying to find out about how the bacteria in patients with respiratory infections evolve within the person’s body over time. For instance, do the bacteria just simply clone themselves? Are they under selection pressures created by the environment of the human lungs? What is most exciting about this paper is that learning about how the bacteria that infect these kind of patients evolve could help develop new and better treatments to treat respiratory infections. Perhaps a regiment more like HIV is appropriate for example since the bacteria that infect these patients evolve and diversify as well.

The scientists looked at the bacteria in sputum samples taken from five patients with cystic fibrosis. They “sequenced pooled population DNA at a very high depth of coverage.” This allowed for an increase in detection of allele frequencies with less cost. One of the patients had whole bacterial genome sequencing, and the other four had only certain colonies sequenced.  It was found that “the majority of mutations were polymorphic.” Other indicators made it clear that the bacteria were under selective pressure that diversified them and created a state of heterogeneity.

The implications of this study are vast because they could greatly impact how we treat respiratory infections. It will probably change the drug regiments of these patients and maybe even completely new drugs will be made and distributed.

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