The Hole in Disease Modeling

Why don't most studies of climate change include molecular methods?

By Jonathan Scheff
Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a common scourge in India, recently found in the warming ocean waters of Alaska.

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"This was probably the most convincing evidence to date of the impact of climate change on pathogen outbreaks in North America," says McLaughlin. Average daily marine temperatures in the sound had been rising steadily, the McLaughlin group found. During the summer harvest of 2004, water temperatures exceeded 15° C, the theorized threshold for the risk of illness from the bacterium due to the consumption of raw oysters.

The McLaughlin group also used molecular tools. Andy DePaola, of the FDA Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory in Alaska, used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine that the strain was V. parahaemolyticus O6:K18, a strain similar to one found 1,000 km south.

The use of molecular analyses...

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