Plants & Animals 

Reconstructing Zika’s spread

The urgent threat from Zika virus, which dominated news headlines in the spring and summer of 2016, has passed for now. But research into how Zika and other mosquito-borne infections spread and cause epidemics is still very active. In a paper published May 24 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, an international team of researchers reports new details of how Zika emerged from Brazil and spread throughout Mexico and Central America, with evidence that some locations had more than one outbreak.

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Plants & Animals 

Tick bite protection: New CDC study adds to the promise of permethrin-treated clothing

The case for permethrin-treated clothing to prevent tick bites keeps getting stronger.In a series of experiments conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clothing treated with an insecticide known as permethrin had strong toxic effects on three primary species of ticks known to spread disease-causing pathogens in the United States. Exposure to permethrin interfered with the ticks’ ability to move properly, making them sluggish and likely interfering with their ability to bite. This effect has been previously documented in just one tick species. The results of the study are published today in the Entomological Society of America’s Journal of Medical Entomology.

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Gut microbiome can control antitumor immune function in liver

Scientists have found a connection between bacteria in the gut and antitumor immune responses in the liver. Their study, published May 25 in Science, was led by researchers in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It showed that bacteria found in the gut of mice affect the liver’s antitumor immune function. The findings have implications for understanding the mechanisms that lead to liver cancer and for therapeutic approaches to treat them. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

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Plants & Animals 

Bold lizards of all sizes have higher mating success

Boldness correlates with the mating success, but not body size or sex, of yellow-spotted monitor lizards roaming the remote Oombulgurri floodplains of tropical Western Australia, ecologists report in the Ecological Society of America’s open access journal Ecosphere. But boldness has a cost: bold individuals expose themselves to much higher risk of being eaten by predators during the dangerous wet season. The researchers demonstrated quantifiable behavioral syndromes in the large lizards, with an intriguing relationship to the lizards’ seasonal hunting strategies.

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Plants & Animals 

Complementing conventional antibiotics

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major medical problem worldwide, impacting both human health and economic well-being. A new strategy for fighting bacteria has now been reported in the latest online issue of Nature by a research group headed by Prof. Ivan Dikic at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The scientists revealed the molecular action mechanism of a Legionella toxin and developed a first inhibitor.

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