Microbes in the News: Researchers Uncover Clue about How Tiny Microbes Self-mutate.

Laboratory Equipment: Monday, April 3rd 2017 https://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2017/04/researchers-uncover-clue-about-how-tiny-microbes-self-mutate

Researchers just discovered a genetic element that enables a group of unidentified microorganisms to self-mutate. Researchers found genetic elements, called diversity-generating retroelements (DGRs), that enable the microbes to target their own genes for accelerated mutation. They found that a majority

An ultra-small cell of a bacterium that may be a relative of the self-mutating microbes.

of ac certain class of Archaea, as well as some yet-to-be-characterized categories of organisms closely related to bacteria, appear to have DGRs. The DGRs target the nucleotide adenine to initiate a new mutation. Much is still unknown about the newly discovered microorganisms.

This ties in with a lot of subjects that we have talked about in class, especially microbial evolution, because this shows how fast evolution and adaptation occurs in microbes.

I did find this story very interesting, and although much is still unknown about this subject, i think the article gave sufficient evidence and facts in order for the reader to understand the concept. I thought this was very interesting and i look forward to seeing further research on this subject.

The biggest question I had after reading this was, how? How can a microorganism self mutate? This is probably the biggest question that the researchers had as well.

 

1 Comment for “Microbes in the News: Researchers Uncover Clue about How Tiny Microbes Self-mutate.”

caito

says:

This was an intriguing article, and the discovery sounds like it could, in theory, have implications similar to the CRISPR gene modifying tools we are utilizing today.
After reading the article, I was much more curious about the discovery than when I had started reading. I found that we don’t know how the mutation is regulated to be the most frustrating outcome, which likely is a shared feeling amongst the researchers. I would like to see to what extent these organisms actively shape their genomes, and how much that has affected their ability to survive. If I’ve gathered anything from my courses in genetics and molecular biology, it’s that a lot can go wrong if there is one little mistake when a genome mutates. To see that there is a microorganism doing just that, and somehow using it to evolutionary advantage, is extremely intriguing.

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