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Category: Microbes

Predator interactions chiefly determine where Prochlorococcus thrive | MIT News
January 3, 2022

Prochlorococcus are the smallest and most abundant photosynthesizing organisms on the planet. A single Prochlorococcus cell is dwarfed by a human red blood cell, yet globally the microbes number in the octillions and are responsible for a large fraction of the world’s oxygen production as they turn sunlight into energy. Prochlorococcus can be found in the ocean’s warm surface waters, and their population drops off...

A step toward “living biotherapeutics”
December 10, 2021

The human gut is home to thousands of species of bacteria, and some of those bacteria have the potential to treat a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Some species may help to combat colon cancer, while others could help treat or prevent infections such as C. difficile. One of the obstacles to developing these “living biotherapeutics” is that many of the species that could be beneficial are harmed by oxygen, making it difficult to...

Research finds potential mechanism linking autism, intestinal inflammation | MIT News
December 9, 2021

Though many people with autism spectrum disorders also experience unusual gastrointestinal inflammation, scientists have not established how those conditions might be linked. Now MIT and Harvard Medical School researchers, working with mouse models, may have found the connection: When a mother experiences an infection during pregnancy and her immune system produces elevated levels of the molecule Interleukin-17a (IL-17a),...

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