×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

New Links Found Between Bacteria and Cancer

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the cleaning-up-your-cancer dept.

Medicine 159

Shipud writes "A recent study by a group at the University of Maryland School of Medicine shows that bacterial DNA gets transferred to human cells, in a process known as lateral gene transfer, or LGT. LGT is known to occur quite commonly between bacteria, including bacteria of different species. In fact, that is how antibiotic resistance is transferred so quickly. The team has shown that certain types of tumor cells acquire bacterial DNA that may play a role in tumor progression. Another group at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has shown that gut inflammation leads to a radical change in the microbial population there, which encourages growth of E. coli that can disrupt the inflamed cells' DNA, leading to cancer. Both studies enable us to ask new questions such as: how does inflammation change the landscape for bacterial colonization? Can bacteria indeed harness inflammation — and then cancer — to flourish and remove competitors from their newly found ecosystem? And can we use this information to fight cancer?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

No, It's Called Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092283)

Is there some difference between LGT and HGT? If not, why deviate from the clear standard [wikipedia.org] on this topic?

Re:No, It's Called Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092373)

HGT is Human Genetic Therapy.

too confusing!

Re:No, It's Called Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092667)

From your link:

Also termed lateral gene transfer

the republicans were right all along (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092321)

I always knew the gays were behind cancer.... LesbianGayTransgender=LGT...... the republicans were right all along

Re:the republicans were right all along (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092403)

its LGBT - you left out the bacon

Re:the republicans were right all along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093413)

He was too busy porking the bacon to spellcheck.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092323)

How long until the entire human race is put on antihistamines now that we've figured out it's the number one cause of death of all time?

Re:So... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092399)

The number 1 killer in the first world, by a wide margin, is heart disease, caused by aging muscles and blood pressure increases. In the third world, lots of relatively simple, preventable illnesses are a common cause of death.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092509)

You do know heart disease is a relatively simple, preventable illness right? It just requires you to stop eating so much of the poisonous garbage they call 'food' in developed countries. More so in the US with it's love for chemicals.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092571)

More so in the US with it's love for chemicals.

Well at least it's not like your country, where you eat too many apostrophes and occasionally puke them out when you're ranting.

Re:So... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092865)

Nah, that's just me. Syntax gives me indigestion, it's why I can't be a monkey coder.

Re:So... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093269)

Tell me about it. One stray semicolon can ruin your whole day. Also, what's up with code that fails to work properly except when it is connected to a debugger?

Re:So... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093369)

Probably a write or read past the end of an array. Debuggers love allocating extra space and accidentally making that stuff safe. Use a memory profiler; Valgrind will sort you out.

Interestingly, that may be what's happening in the first half of the paper. They spend a lot of time rambling about laboratory contaminants as though they're apologetic high school students trying to explain why their vinegar-and-baking-soda volcano burned a hole in the teacher's desk.

Re:So... (1)

Roman Coder (413112) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093881)

Unless he's working with a language like Java, which then makes me think its a threading issue (debugger changing the timing/duration of the running code/threads).

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092605)

I don't eat chemicals. I only eat plasmas of unbound subatomic particles. Down with chemistry!

But yeah, the americans have some very weird ideas about food.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092659)

You do know heart disease is a relatively simple, preventable illness right? It just requires you to stop eating so much of the poisonous garbage they call 'food' in developed countries. More so in the US with it's love for chemicals.

Really, heart disease doesn't occur in the developing world?

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/coronary-heart-disease/by-country/ [worldlifeexpectancy.com]

Try again.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092859)

You know that this is complete and utter garbage, and that people still get old, right? That you're a moron throwing around your ignorance like a giant ill-informed medicine ball?

"Chemicals" doesn't mean anything. You want to talk about specific chemicals and their poorly understood interaction with biology, well, that's just dandy. Like want to talk about metabolization of monosaccharides versus polysaccharides? Be my guest. Want to think that mysterious "chemicals" beyond human comprehension, then you're a goddamn moron.

Re:So... (1, Troll)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093013)

People getting old has nothing to do with what the US thinks age related diseases are. Here's a hint for you brainwashed person, 'age related' diseases are actually different from country to country. They aren't actually consequences of getting old! It depends on the specific type of damage that your diet and lifestyle causes.

Chemicals does mean something to people that aren't pedantic myopes without contextual abilities. Compare prosciutto and bacon. What's funny is how much additional chemicals people apply to their bodies to try and get rid of the stink as their body tries to process all the chemicals they ingest. Big money in chemicals.

Re:So... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093127)

Apparently having a basic understanding of biology, nutrition, and chemistry is "brainwashed". The difference between prosciutto and bacon is how the poor-little-piggy is butchered. You'll find prosciutto with plenty of damned preservative phosphates, basic salting, and antibiotics as common bacon, and you can, in fact, find bacon that is 100% organic with no such treatment.

You're essentially saying here: "No get the filet mignon, it's less toxic than the ribeye, you know, because it's french". There is no logical basis to your beliefs, and if you can cite so much as one "chemical" by name that you honestly believe to be the source of heart disease, I will be utterly surprised.

I certainly can name several, by you'll be surprised at just how natural they are.

Re:So... (1)

metiscus (1270822) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093185)

l-carnitine is one for sure

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093431)

Had to look it up. You're saying something that is statistically associated with lower risk of heart disease as a cause of heart disease. It's actually being considered as a treatment, according to wikipedia. I find the basis for that assertion a little "woo"ish for my tastes, but that's aside the point.

Re:So... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093391)

Sodium chloride, man. That shit will do you in. And watch out for that shifty DHMO guy, too. Nothing good comes of a chemical with "HMO" in its name.

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093451)

DHMO(or as I like to call it, hydrogen hydroxide), is actually an important part of treating heart disease. Sodium chloride was the particular example I was thinking of, so way to steal my thunder, jerkface.

Re:So... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093573)

I dunno about that; heart failure is found in 100% of DHMO overdoses. The rat LD50 for DMHO is only 90 g/kg.

Re:So... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093497)

That NaCL is only dangerous if you don't have a way to get rid of excess, you know, by doing things like moving around... ok, I see you're point. Don't worry about DHMO though, I hear that in the US they think the stuff is so dangerous they have to cut it with acids and carcinogenic chemicals before the populace will even touch it.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093645)

Fun science fact: it takes twice as much MSG to kill a rat than it does salt if you count by number of molecules, and 5.5x as much if you count by mass.

Re:So... (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093467)

You sir, are an idiot. I've already told you this, but one day you will not only be able to read, but eventually you'll be able to comprehend. Let us pray that day comes soon.

BTW, the only place you'll find prosciutto with chemicals is when it's made by US companies!! And yes, because of farming practices, animal husbandry, and feed quality, that french cow, or italian, etc... are all going to be healthier for you than something raised by US standards. I know, I know, you've been fed the kool-aid since you were born, but try and get over it will you?

Re:So... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093583)

Holy shit, you're telling me you can make prosciutto without chemicals?! No NaCl or H2O? No carbohydrates, fats, sugars, or molecules of any kind? What's it made of, neutralinoes? Raw quark-gluon plasma? I knew European countries had some advanced science, but chemical-free prosciutto is damned impressive!

Seriously: everything you've ever eaten, touched, smelled, tasted, or seen was made up of "chemicals." So is your entire body! You want to complain about "chemicals"? Learn the names of them, then start.

Re:So... (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093639)

So Italian prosciutto lacks this sodium chloride chemical that apparently causes heart disease? Thanks for letting me know. I'll only buy imported from now on.

Re:So... (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093797)

Not sure if you're being sarcastic. But here goes.

Prosciutto only contains NaCl salt. Salt causing heart disease is not scientifically proven, it has been inferred by a simplistic model and not really corroborated by any evidence. When referering to sodium in products, most is not in the form of NaCl, but as nitrate, nitrite, erthyrobate, etc... , these are the forms that make your BO stink to high heaven to breakdown and get rid of. A pretty good rule of thumb is anything that you eat that makes you stink like a toxic chemical spill should probably be avoided in the future.

Re:So... (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094635)

Wait, so should I avoid arugula? How about celery?

Re:So... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094847)

If you belong to the small percentage of people who can't process those and your body warns you by perceiving them as having a horrible taste and odor, then yes avoid them. Generally good to avoid celery due to it's high level of pesticide residue though.

Though in general, sulfur smells aren't my idea of toxic spill smells, more just like a round trip to hell.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094337)

BTW, the only place you'll find prosciutto with chemicals is when it's made by US companies!! And yes, because of farming practices, animal husbandry, and feed quality, that french cow, or italian, etc... are all going to be healthier for you than something raised by US standards. I know, I know, you've been fed the kool-aid since you were born, but try and get over it will you?

Not so much. All those long-chain carbon molecules (you know, the ones that make up the proteins and lipids in the pork?) are chemicals. Almost everything is made up of chemicals. Unless you want to, as a previous poster said, "...only eat plasmas of unbound subatomic particles," everything you eat is entirely made up of chemicals. Why are so many people so incredibly ignorant?

Posting AC as I'm moderating on this thread.

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094421)

Again these anonymous "chemicals". You keep telling me to open my eyes, but then flailing wildly in all directions when I ask where to look with, what I assure you, is quite capable vision. You don't understand what you're saying, and worse, you don't understand that you don't understand what you're saying.

Re:So... (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093243)

I'll have to agree with i kan reed, you're way way way on the outer fringes. How about the world lifeexpectancy link the AC gave you. Or, if you're a wikipedia truster [wikipedia.org] you'll see the same thing - heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. The US rate is lower than the world wide rate, so maybe it's time to change your rant, like maybe drop it entirely and catch back up with the real world.

Re:So... (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093433)

Y'know, disparaging Wikipedia for citing WHO statistics [who.int] is a really good way to make you look like a jerk. Most of the medical and biological stuff is written by bored graduate students; it's just as accurate as the papers themselves. Save your ire for the history section and other reservoirs of national ego.

Re:So... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093585)

Don't be fooled by a static statistic. Try taking a look at global trends in relation to the spread of a western style diet. Also, try using that brain to come up with at least one plausible reason why the US rate of death might be lower and contemplate how prevalence of cardiovascular disease is not the same as death due to cardiovascular disease.

Maybe you're just a young kid that doesn't remember when this scientific information came out decades ago?

Re:So... (1)

jbengt (874751) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095075)

People getting old has nothing to do with what the US thinks age related diseases are.

As someone with a Dad who is 92 years old, and in relatively good health, for his age, I will have to vehemently disagree with you.

Re:So... (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092969)

You know that in the long run, we are all dead? And this means that there will be for each of us a reason to die? The different death causes are sitting around and throw dices, and the one who gets the lowest number, wins. If "run over by a car" throws a 24, but "measles induced heart problems" are scoring 17, you will die at age 17 with heart problems and not with 24 in a car accident.

There are some players we managed to get out of the game. Many infections are no longer allowed to play. Thus higher numbers win more often now, and our average life expectancy increases. But the sum of all death cause margins will still be 100 percent, and if we manage to get each single cause to a margin of less than 1%, it just means, that we have to have literally hundred of different ways to die.

Re:So... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093543)

More so in the US with it's love for chemicals.

Your rant would be much more convincing if you gave some indication that you understood basic chemistry. YOU are made up of chemicals. Everything you eat, even the nutritious stuff, is made up of chemicals. The people who told you that "chemicals are bad" are fearmongering without knowledge, don't listen to them.

Also, your knowledge of heart disease seems to be lacking....I'll bet you got it from the same people that told you chemicals are bad.

Re:So... (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093657)

Idiot pedant!

You know what I mean, and if you don't, well, you really are an idiot. I guess in a way it's easier to assume the other person is a dumb sheeple for believing nonsense than dealing with the fact that the US food industry is just a dumping ground for chemical byproducts and you pay for the privilege of consuming industrial waste.

Re:So... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093865)

No, people who complain about 'chemicals', that's a shibboleth of people who are clueless about food. If you can't explain what you mean more clearly, then you probably don't know what you're talking about.

And in fact, the rest of your post confirms it. Chemical byproducts? Industrial waste? Those are definitely not what is causing heart disease in the typical American diet.

Re:So... (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094185)

Byproducts. Just because you can't comprehend how that explains clearly doesn't mean I'm the idiot. Most non-idiots understand that the general term 'chemicals' refers to human produced chemicals and not naturally occuring ones, but nice science fanboi strawman there. If you think that man made chemicals have the same properties as their natural counterparts you obviously don't know your american history very well. Capitalism demands that a company be as profitable as possible. Flouride led the way to show that it is more profitable to sell toxic byproducts as additives than to pay to dispose of them. Do you know how many GMO corn byproducts are disposed of in US 'food' items? It's ok, keep drinking the kool-aid and loading up on twinkies, it's not my body. I just hope the US destroys itself through stupidity before it causes irreparable damage to the world food system.

Re:So... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094343)

Even worse, the poor sap is organic! Unfortunately he won't get that either.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094233)

You really need to be an educated grocery shopper these days, with so many harmful ingredients diguised as 'food'. I recently discovered that BHT and Maltodextrin are bad for you. Sure, they say that the amounts present in the food are "safe" but when you eat it every day in so many foods I can't see it not becoming a problem.

Re:So... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094247)

So would you rather die from malnutrition and cholera at the age of 30 in Uganda, or from heart disease due too much rich food at the age of 75 in America?

Re:So... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094647)

Nice made up false dichotomy. btw, hardly anybody dies at age 30 of cholera or malnutrition in any country, and life expectancy is a lot higher in Uganda.

However, I would prefer to grow and cook my own food and die by any unintentional mistake than to die slowly by overtaxing my waste disposal systems by the intentional addition of non-natural ingredients solely for the sake of increasing a companies bottom line.

Re:So... (1)

jbengt (874751) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095043)

You do know heart disease is a relatively simple, preventable illness right?

You do know that that some people that exercise often and eat properly still get heart disease? And that it is is associated with inflammation, right? And that low-level infection/inflammation is a contributing cause to clogged arteries? And that all sorts of things go wrong with the body and metabolism due to old age, regardless of the good diet you may follow, including stiffening of the blood vessels and valves, reduction in immune system response, slower repairs to injuries, poor hormone levels, etc.?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092723)

The number 1 killer in the first world, by a wide margin, is heart disease, caused by aging muscles and blood pressure increases. In the third world, lots of relatively simple, preventable illnesses are a common cause of death.

However, heart disease deaths are far more prevalent in the developing world than they are in the developed world.

http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/coronary-heart-disease/by-country/ [worldlifeexpectancy.com]

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094353)

But cancer and heart disease are also as rampant in those turd-world countries. Socio-economic conditions play a role, but not as large as people think. Everyone can get cancer, being poor means you will also equally contract malaria and die if not treated.

Re:So... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095311)

I wasn't saying otherwise. I was just saying that in the first world, we have good enough medicine, that non-bacterial problems represent the biggest health concerns.

fight cancer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092401)

Not the question I have. My question is how can I use this to cause cancer in my enemies.

Re:fight cancer? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093477)

Don't bother. You'd get more bang for your buck if you sprinkled fibreglass in their bedsheets every night.

I think I may need new glasses (1, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092441)

At first, I thought the title was "New Linux Found Between Bacteria and Cancer".

Re:I think I may need new glasses (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092837)

That's understandable, because a distributed development model is obviously involved:

LGT is known to occur quite commonly between bacteria, including bacteria of different species. In fact, that is how antibiotic resistance is transferred so quickly.

But I guess that Linus still thinks he invented DVCS with e-mail patches before the bacteria did. Good luck for him that their patent on that has already expired.

Also notice that for the bacteria people, it's all about the kernel. Or nucleus, whatever.

Re:I think I may need new glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093411)

But while bacteria share DNA code snippets quite freely, they still haven't figured out how to do proper version control. :-)

Re:I think I may need new glasses (2)

Artifakt (700173) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095069)

Duuuh! Bacteria don't use Linux, they run something with a microkernel archetecture.

I just noticed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092455)

LGT + B = LGBT Tonight on Fox News: supporting gay rights causes cancer!

Captain obvious says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092487)

"And can we use this information to fight cancer?"

Live a healthier life so you have a robust immune system?

Please don't suggest giving more money to cancer-cure scammers to "fight cancer" when education and changing your unhealthy lifestyle will do more for the world than any "cure" ever will.

Has everyone forgotten "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure"? Our society's biggest disease is ignorance and arrogance.

Re:Captain obvious says... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092523)

Has everyone forgotten "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure"? Our society's biggest disease is ignorance and arrogance.

That's silly. We need people working as hard as possible during their peak earning years so they can pay the maximum amount of taxes so we can fund things like cancer treatment, the regulatory machine, and foreign wars. Cancer gets most of them after they retire and we need the money *now*. Relaxing and eating well would reduce the tax revenue significantly - your public policy prescriptions go against the prevailing behavior of modern governments.

Shut up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092491)

Stop giving the bacteria ideas!

lateral transfer / evolution (3, Interesting)

davids-world.com (551216) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092559)

Oh, thanks. I've just learned something. I have used resistance to antibiotics as an example of real-time observable evolution. If it is actually lateral transfer, then this example won't hold. Good to know!

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092675)

The genes for resistance still have to be evolved by some bacterium. The gene transfer just helps with spreading those genes far and wide.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092677)

Why wouldn't the example hold? How does a lateral transfer of genes differ from a vertical transfer of genes as far as evolution is concerned?

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

davids-world.com (551216) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092751)

Perhaps because the classic evolution model typically involves vertical transfer? But, of course, the selection process continues to work very well, so you're right from that perspective. "HGT has been shown to be an important factor in the evolution of many organisms." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer [wikipedia.org]

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092947)

Perhaps because the classic evolution model typically involves vertical transfer?

But, of course, the selection process continues to work very well, so you're right from that perspective.

"HGT has been shown to be an important factor in the evolution of many organisms." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer [wikipedia.org]

There's a lot of lateral gene transfer in humans, as well(just ask your parents, though sometimes they weren't strictly lateral at the time); bacteria just make it more obvious because gene transfer/recombination and reproduction are more or less wholly separate processes, while mammals and such combine gene transfer and reproduction into a single operation.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (4, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093065)

The male isn't really transferring genes laterally though. They're being combined with the females egg and falling squarely in the realm of fertilization/reproduction. With that said. There is some evidence that there is a lateral transfer of genes between the mother and baby. Male DNA has been found in the brains of mothers' of sons. My understanding is it's harder to find evidence that the sons receive genes from the mother laterally since he will already have an X chromosome from her.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093453)

That's interesting. So maybe if a woman has children from two men, the second child may end up having some DNA from the father of the first, passed through the mother.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44095497)

That can't be, because the only way that a gene from one organism could be in another is if evil Monsanto scientists make GMO frankenfoods to starve african farmers.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095231)

In classic models of natural selection, a gene comes into existence through mutation, and then spreads widely because it is subject to natural selection. The time it takes to spread widely depends on how long a generation is for the organism, and how much of an advantage the gene confers over its alternates. Lateral transfer lets a gene spread widely regardless of how much of an advantage it confers (or doesn't). In the long run, it will be natural selection that determines if the gene really confers an advantage and stays around, but in the short run, the gene is spreading from some other cause than natural selection. Mendel's Code with Mutation and Darwin's Natural Selection are the two theories that together make up the Theory of Evolution. Where you don't have both of those, you don't have Evolution, you have something else.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092713)

It's still evolution. It's change in response to the environment. LGT (Lateral Gene Transfer) is a Big Deal in the bacterial world - it evolved. You can amplify the effect by causing a selection pressure (ie, put an antibiotic in the flask). But, you can also have de novo point mutations that cause antibiotic resistance - that's done thousands, if not millions of times a day all over the planet. The clever little protists have figured out an even more efficient way to do things.

That's certainly evolution in action.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092725)

Why don't you consider lateral transfer to be evolution?

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092815)

Or rather, a mechanism by which evolution may occur.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092901)

Not sure I would call it evolution in the strictest sense. Enhancement would be a better term for it. For I know someone who had both their knees and both their hips replaced so they could walk again. Is that evolution? Not really. Could that be passed on though no. But in this case its not exactly evolution either but it could be passed on. It could however play into evolution. Which is about 'good' vs 'bad' traits being passed on and survivability.

Sharing of traits makes more sense than 'random' that is usually espoused. Though both could come into play.

Hmm evolution... No. But a source of traits to be put into play for evolution? Yes.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092759)

It depends on the antibiotic and on the bacteria, in some cases only one or two simple mutations are enough to give a high resistance to an antibiotic, in those cases the mutations easily appear and are easily selected (I observed it myself), without the need for lateral transfer.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092843)

You are confusing micro evolution with universal common descent.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092917)

Oh, thanks. I've just learned something. I have used resistance to antibiotics as an example of real-time observable evolution. If it is actually lateral transfer, then this example won't hold. Good to know!

Lateral transfer is, arguably, just an example of the fact that 'evolution' isn't merely something that happens to individuals. In the case of bacteria, a novel mutation can increase in prevalence either through reproduction by the organism carrying it, or by transfer to other bacteria. Just because nothing makes a complex system more fun than adding more variables(and/or nature hates biologists), both the bacterial population and the distribution/makeup of the laterally-transferrable DNA sequences floating around on top of the bacterial population evolve...(And did we mention the viruses that are probably in on the action?)

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093207)

Oh, thanks. I've just learned something. I have used resistance to antibiotics as an example of real-time observable evolution. If it is actually lateral transfer, then this example won't hold. Good to know!

Didn't it have to evolve before it could be laterally transferred?

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093567)

It's still evolution, right? The precise mechanism is different, but it's still a change in the organism, which is then favored by natural selection.

Re:lateral transfer / evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094775)

Uhhh, it's both, dude.

Inflamation - What gives? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44092567)

I don't have any proper medical education, so can someone tell me why so much of modern medicine involves controlling or preventing inflammation? It seems to cause or contribute a lot of dangerous conditions.

What is the natural biological benefit (Why did we evolve it?) that inflammation is supposed to achieve?

Re:Inflamation - What gives? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093029)

Inflammation is good for the short term by letting you know something is wrong and has a protective element. Problems occur when there is too much inflammation or it lasts too long. On average, it's a good thing.

Re:Inflamation - What gives? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093075)

It's been a while since "Human Infectious Diseases"; but my understanding is that the inflammatory response is a component of the 'Innate immune system', a very, very, old, comparatively rudimentary; but fast-responding complement to the more recent immune system with pathogen-specific antibodies and killer T cells and things.

The inflammation itself is partially a cause of the changes that tissues undergo to do damage control and partially serves to increase supply of particular chemicals and cell types [wikipedia.org] at the site of the issue(leading to the redness and swelling that are most obvious.

As for it being associated with a laundry list of unpleasant diseases, I'm told that it's a combination of:

1. Inflammation is (when it's working correctly) a stress response/damage control mechanism, that kicks in in response to certain environmental stresses and pathogens, so people who are inflamed a lot are also unpleasantly likely to be people who are being exposed to something that isn't doing them any good.

2. Like scarring, inflammation is one of those 'unpleasant; but it beat dying for most of evolutionary history' arrangements that wreaks a lot of havoc in the process of saving you from infection or tissue damage; which was a much better trade-off before we had access to modern medicine to deal with our acute illnesses and injuries; but also wanted to live to be 90.

3. The immune system, innate and acquired, is sort of your own personal military-industrial complex, and has a nasty tendency to sometimes go off the rails and start killing civilians in an increasingly paranoid response to minimal or nonexistent security threats, giving us autoimmune disorders.

Paranoia: They really are out to get you. (3, Informative)

Guppy (12314) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094217)

The immune system, innate and acquired, is sort of your own personal military-industrial complex, and has a nasty tendency to sometimes go off the rails and start killing civilians in an increasingly paranoid response to minimal or nonexistent security threats, giving us autoimmune disorders.

Consider the evolutionary theory of pathogen Molecular Mimicry -- infectious agents that adopt motifs that resemble normal host antigens should have a selective advantage. In an absolute form, the theory is not completely accepted -- immunological cross-reactivity between host and pathogen could be due to evolution, or it could be due to chance -- and examples exist that support either case. But I think it is likely that the mechanism operates at least some situations.

The consequence is that a somewhat over-active immune system may actually be the optimum state, with the particular degree of paranoia being the amount that best balances the trade-off between autoimmune disease risk against infection outcomes.

 

Re:Paranoia: They really are out to get you. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095149)

Oh, being the immune system is definitely a "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you" situation, because oh boy are they ever. It's just not much comfort to people who have plenty of access to antibiotics; but no longer have a functional pancreas...

Re:Inflamation - What gives? (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093301)

Inflammation if not caused by micro-organizms can lead to invasion by them and when it goes through the blood stream is referred to a Sepsis.

Sepsis is ultra-serious and life threatening. Inflammation in organs can damage internal organs.

Re:Inflamation - What gives? (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094347)

can someone tell me why so much of modern medicine involves controlling or preventing inflammation?

I'm not a doctor either, but I can help answer this part. Inflammation hurts -- think headaches and pulled muscles. There are also a lot of chronic, painful conditions that involve inflammation, like arthritis. It's a big deal for your quality of life.

GMO's, any science fanboi still cheering? (-1, Troll)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092613)

More studies are showing that portions of dna that we eat get transcribed, some gets stored, that bacteria can swap out portions with our food, and that bacteria can exchange dna with us.

Isn't it about time we kill the evil child of US capitalism known as monsanto. After all, do we really need such risks just so we can dump more poison on top of our food? Only in the US could a business built on destruction, death, and poison become the 'caretaker' of the food industry, and the citizens don't care!

antibiotics and statistics (2)

cablepokerface (718716) | about a year and a half ago | (#44092769)

Can they therefore derive that people who have had to take much antibiotics throughout their lives for other conditions, statistically have less cancer?

Re:antibiotics and statistics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093175)

A bio-diverse flora reduces the chance of cancer and many other issues. So no, antibiotics are bad for you in the long run, but can help you survive the short-run. You can always have a fecal transplant from someone with a good flora. It's as nasty as it sounds and it is an official medical procedure.

Re:antibiotics and statistics (1)

curious.corn (167387) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094303)

Well, nasty... it seems to work much better than all other treatments, including massively destructing and disfiguring surgery procedures. Now, getting an enema or swallowing a pill of purified bacterial matter may entice a giggle or two, but so does eating french cheese, which is just rotten milk - by the bacteria that thrives under toenails... I've been having irritable bowel for a decade, and I'm going to ask my GP about this transplant... I don't mind :)

Paleo (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093377)

It would help explain why the paleo diet is supposed to cut caner risk drastically: Without all the etra carbs there is less inflammation in the body. Food for thought :)

Would diet matter? (2)

ubrgeek (679399) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093449)

Specifically taking probiotic supplements, yogurt, etc?

Re:Would diet matter? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094925)

"Specifically taking probiotic supplements, yogurt, etc?"
no, becasue they don't work. Clinical probiotics MIGHT have an effect. :
http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/probiotics/ [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

LGBT (2)

evilviper (135110) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093679)

bacterial DNA gets transferred to human cells, in a process known as lateral gene transfer, or LGT.

Fox News called it... Gay marriage is going to kill us all!

What you forgot to mention: Sugar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093929)

Said gut inflammation nearly all of the time comes from highly concentrated sugar/starch. [nih.gov]

Exactly what happens to your teeth/mouth, happens to the rest of your digestive system too. The predominant bacteria change, and grow massively and uncontrolled, because of the huge amount of ready-made/predigested energy.

I'm not saying anything about the cancer link myself. But more and unusual bacteria... over decades (of eating stuff not fit for human consumption)... draw your own conclusions...

Just so you know. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094911)

Those aren't new questions.

So where is the epidemiological evidence? (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095297)

If some, any, cancer were transmitted through bacteria , then it would produce a infectious footprint in the epidemiological record.

Where is that footprint?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?