July 2022, Issue 1 Table of Contents

Feature

Landscape illustration
Horizontal Gene Transfer Happens More Often Than Anyone Thought
Christie Wilcox | Jul 5, 2022
DNA passed to and from all kinds of organisms, even across kingdoms, has helped shape the tree of life, to a large and undisputed degree in microbes and also unexpectedly in multicellular fungi, plants, and animals.

Speaking of Science

Greenhouse whitefly - Trialeurodes vaporariorum on the underside of leaves. It is a currently important agricultural pest.
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse

Critic at Large

Tiny diverse scientists are studying the covid-19 virus under a giant microscope. Vaccine development concept
Opinion: Many Clinical Trials Fail to Navigate the Literature
Opinion: Many Clinical Trials Fail to Navigate the Literature
Too often, studies that aim to develop new treatments for patients fail to adequately cite and build upon research that preceded them.

Notebook

Vicu&ntilde;as <em>(Lama vicugna)</em> run across the plains in San Guillermo National Park, Argentina.
How Mange Remade an Ecosystem
How Mange Remade an Ecosystem
A study traces the effects of a mite outbreak from the earth to the heavens.
Pufferfish underwater in ocean
Pufferfish Don’t Need Functional Stomach, Inflate Instead
Pufferfish Don’t Need Functional Stomach, Inflate Instead
The fish use their stomach to swell up to three times their size. Is this why they can’t use the organ to digest proteins?

Slideshows

Infographics

Illustration of a DNA virus sneaking genetic material into a host&rsquo;s nucleus
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.

The Literature

red ants coming out of dirt hole
Bull Ant Venom Evolved to Make Bites More Painful to Mammals
Bull Ant Venom Evolved to Make Bites More Painful to Mammals
A peptide found in bull ant venom closely resembles a hormone of its primary predator, triggering hypersensitivity and making subsequent bites even more painful than the ones that came before.
Illustration of two weaving proteins 
Fusion with Spider Silk Increases Anti-Cancer Protein’s Stability
Fusion with Spider Silk Increases Anti-Cancer Protein’s Stability
Scientists found that combining the notoriously flimsy anti-cancer protein p53 with a domain from a spider silk protein resulted in a more stable hybrid that’s more potent and easier for cells to synthesize.

Foundations

Person in a black, beaked robe (left) and man in a black tunic (right), flanking a red coat of arms
Masking Up, 1619 to present
Masking Up, 1619 to present
Putting on a mask to protect oneself and others against disease is nothing new, nor is resistance to mask-wearing, but mask designs have changed considerably from their first iterations.