Sustainability of cattle bacteria tripled since 2000

The continued increase in the use of antibiotics for livestock has significantly increased resistance to pathogenic bacteria, according to a study conducted in Princeton, ETH Zurich and the Free University of Brussels.

Researchers found that, especially in low- and middle-income countries, resistance to pathogenic bacteria in animals to antibiotics almost tripled between 2000 and 2018. We are talking about countries such as China, India, Brazil and Kenya, which the same researchers consider to be new points of crisis.

Researchers have collected data on more than a thousand studies or veterinary reports from around the world, creating a kind of map of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. These new, higher levels of resistance are particularly characteristic of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

Resistance increases have been observed mainly in chickens, where antibiotic treatment has failed in more than half of the cases in 40% of the samples, and in pigs, where they have failed in about a third.

Researchers say this is also due to the fact that meat production has increased by more than 60% in Asia and Africa and more than 40% in South America since 2000. To date, 73% of the world’s antibiotic use is for meat production. Given that more than half of the world’s chickens and pigs are grown in Asia, this is certainly alarming.

Therefore, the increased resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in the livestock sector is more than alarming, especially in developing countries, as noted by the first author of the study, Thomas van Beckel, also noting the “explosive” growth in meat production and consumption in these regions. In most of these regions, access to veterinary antibiotics remains unregulated.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

http://environment.princeton.edu/news/antibiotic-resistance-in-food-animals-nearly-tripled-since-2000/

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6459/eaaw1944

The Sauropods, the huge herbivore dinosaurs, may have had a beak

Sauropods, giant dinosaurs that could weigh more than a modern airliner, could have been subject to error by paleontologists. Scientists have always believed that this dinosaur’s lips are similar to those of lizards, but the new research puts a new opportunity on the table.

According to Kaylie Wiershma, a paleontologist at the University of Bonn, Germany, these dinosaurs may have had beaks similar to beaks of turtles or birds full of long teeth. With this particular mouth and relative tooth structure, they were able to collect and swallow a huge amount of vegetation, which led them to an evolutionary level to achieve record sizes.

Wiershma, who led the study together with his colleague Martin Sander, analyzed seven sets of teeth extracted from some species of germplasm, including the European dwarf germplasm Europasaurus and Camarasaurus. After analysis, the researchers concluded that the beaks were similar to the beaks of most of these species, as they noticed only 50% surface wear, down to the jaw.

This indicates, according to the researchers, that the teeth themselves were enclosed in a beak-like structure of keratin, a substance that is also at the base of the beaks of birds. The reconstruction, which was done by scientists and researchers, would in fact always have left the rows of teeth attached to the skull incomprehensible, according to the study’s authors.

On the other hand, the presence of a beak would help to keep the teeth stable, protect them and ensure stability. These huge dinosaurs could not have had such unprotected teeth without protection, as Steve Salisbury, a paleontologist at the University of Queensland on the Science website, makes clear.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/giant-sauropod-dinosaurs-may-have-sported-turtlelike-beaks

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12542-016-0332-6

Coral reef fish breed offspring from other fish

The unusual behaviour of coral reef fish was studied by a team of researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz. This is an example of incubation parasitism, a phenomenon that can be observed in different species of animals, often birds, and that occurs when children are not cared for by their parents. In fact, you can see bird species that lay eggs in nests of other species, not in their own.

Researcher Giacomo Bernardi, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has studied this phenomenon in fish of the genus Altrichthys. According to the researcher himself, this is a very rare phenomenon in fish coral reefs, as the larvae deposited by the fish living in this environment, usually dissipate and drift with the streams before settling on the reef itself. The very birth of these fish and their initial development is a lottery, as 99% of eggs are eaten by predators.

Researchers have noted a species that did not provide parental care, and, after various genetic tests, found that many of Altricht’s parents usually take care of mixed manure. These litters often consisted of children from genetically different families, but of the same size. The researcher believes that there are fish that lay eggs in the nests of other couples, and that this is therefore an example of parasitic hatching: “If it is not tribal parasitism, then a series of fish should swim and be adopted. This seems unlikely because the nests are very remote and the mortality rate for unprotected children is huge.”

If this practice were confirmed, it would be an important survival strategy for these fish. However, controlling the nests of these fish, which are very deep inside the coral, would be too destructive for the latter, and for this reason, the researcher intends to experiment with Altrichthys inside the controlled tanks.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mec.15243

Scientists create a compound that can block cell death

A compound that helps cells live and function was developed by an Australian research team. A study published in Nature Chemical Biology shows that this compound can prevent so-called apoptosis, cell death, which can be important in cases of emergency medical procedures or reduce cell damage after heart attacks, as well as save organs for transplantation.

Researchers have created a specific compound that successfully disables two proteins, called BAK and BAX, which are part of the BCL-2 family of proteins. When BAK and BAX are activated, the cells pass the “point of no return” and die. The compound, based on a new small molecule of tricyclic sulfone, stops this “cascading” process, which causes cell death where it begins and before the mitochondrial damage is done.

The result came after 11 years of research conducted by researchers at the Walter Ed Elise Hall Institute. One of the researchers involved in the study, Guillaume Lessen, talks about “blocking cell death” as a result of “solely because of its ability to keep cells alive and well in the laboratory.”

Another researcher involved in the study, David Huang, explains that these results can be very useful to prevent uncontrolled cell death, for example, after an acute injury, to speed up the recovery of patients or even to save his life.

Benjamin Kyle, currently a researcher at Monash University, was also involved in the study.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.wehi.edu.au/news/cell-death-blocker-prevents-healthy-cells-dying

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41589-019-0365-8

Stick insects: researchers make discoveries about their unique evolution

The extraordinary ability to blend in with the environment of insect sticks was the subject of a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. These insects have been able to count on an amazing evolutionary history compared to other insects or other animals that tend to merge with the environment.

Many species have taken on shapes that are extremely similar to those of branches, leaves, bark or other parts of plants. Sven Bradler of the University of Göttingen and the senior author of the study, together with their colleagues, analyzed 38 species of stick insects and deciduous insects.

With this new set of genetic data, the researchers made their first discovery: the genealogy of these insects reflects more the geographical distribution than the anatomical similarity of animals. As Sarah Bank, a graduate student at the University of Göttingen and co-author of the study, said, Madagascar’s sticks, for example, originate from a single ancestral species that colonized the island 45 million years ago.

This could mean that different groups of insects used the same evolutionary approach, namely that they increasingly resembled branches and leaves in different contexts and areas of the planet.
They later discovered that the phylogenetic tree of stick insects, which appeared after the extinction of the dinosaurs, occurred 66 million years ago.

Thus, this level of camouflage with the environment was designed by these insects to avoid predators, mostly represented by mammals and birds. However, the genes found in this study are so numerous that the same researchers believe that new discoveries can be made in the future to better understand the incredible evolution that characterizes these insects.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2019.00345/full