Navigation Links
Researchers develop way to calculate speed of bacterial sex

Scientists from the University of California-Davis recently developed a mathematical model of the rate of gene transfer among bacteria in the environment. Researchers believe this new model improves upon existing models by taking into account characteristics of the natural subsurface environments, the typical bacteria hangouts. This model will help scientists to quantify the spread of important bacterial traits.

The swapping of genetic material between bacteria leads to bacterial adaptation and evolution; however, bacterial adaptation is a double-edged sword for the environment. While the genetic exchange among bacteria can lead to positive environmental outcomes, such as improved bioremediation qualities, bacterial adaptation can also create potentially harmful bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and increase gene flow from genetically modified organisms to native soils. By developing a real-life model of bacterial gene transfer, UC-Davis researchers hoped to gain insight into the rates of bacterial adaptation in the environment. They report their findings in the May 2007 issue of Vadose Zone Journal in a special section on soil biophysics.

Researchers believe that one of the major mechanisms for the transfer of genetic information in the environment occurs through a conjugation. According to study co-authors, Timothy Ginn and Arash Massoudieh, donor bacteria cells act like vampires, latching onto nearby unsuspecting non-related bacteria cells. Just as the bite from a vampire leads a victim to be transformed into a vampire, the donor bacteria’s "bite" injects genetic material into the recipient, causing the recipient to become a donor. The controlling rates of conjugative gene transfer and the kinetics of conjugative gene transfer are unknown.

The study of conjugative gene transfer centers on biofilms, a coat formed by colonizing bacterial cells.

"While scientists have studied [conjugation] in the lab, and wondered abo ut its impact in nature, current computer models of conjugation were pretty basic," said Ginn. UC-Davis researchers set out to build a better model that incorporated the experiences of bacteria in nature, such as wait times associated with conjugations, bacterial cell motion and transport in ground water, and the colonization of soil surfaces by bacterial cells.

Using a previously established conceptual framework of conjugation processes in an isolated environment, researchers created a new mathematical model of bacterial transport and conjugation that focused on subsurface bacteria colonizing surfaces, such as sand and soil grains. The UC-Davis research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The new model was then used to re-interpret previously published conjugation data. The findings revealed that bacterial transport and colonization of surfaces is as important a controlling factor for gene spread as was the rate of conjugation itself.

It is important to consider all natural processes together when trying to predict rates of gene transfer, said Ginn.

"The model gives us a new tool for designing new experiments that reflect gene transfer in the real world, including such things as transport of cells in porous media of soils and aquifers," explained Massoudieh. "It also can be used for ‘extrapolative?modeling to predict rates of gene transfer in certain cases, mainly environmental science scenarios, but also with relevance to some medical scenarios."

Source:American Society of Agronomy

Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain

Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/19/2015)... 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively involved ... few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, ... market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, ... for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... controlled by one company and only a handful of ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Vigilant,s Board after recently retiring from the partnership at ... owning 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  ... performance improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 11, 2015   Growing need for ... tools has been paving the way for use ... of discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food ... predominantly used in medical applications, however, their adoption ... due to continuous emphasis on improving product quality ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds ... organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to ... margins but higher volume share for the region ... scale, however, margins in the CRO industry will ... Market ( ), finds that the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide ... Carolina , today announced that the company has set a ... a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 ... and Mexico , with the establishment of ... December 2015. --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ... Poulton , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray ... City , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: