"[Our philosopher] asserted that he knew the whole secret...[H]e surveyed the two celestial strangers from top to toe, and mantained to their faces that their persons, their worlds, their suns and their stars, were created solely for the use of man. At this assertion our two travelers let themselves fall against each other, seized with a fit of...inextinguishable laughter"
-- Voltaire (1752)
Hello all. My name is Lu. This is a science blog, on a microscopic and astronomical scale (and a combination of both--extraterrestrials!). I'm biology student, pretty much in love with the universe.
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Viruses in the gut protect from infection | Nature
“Mucus is everywhere,” says microbiologist Jeremy Barr. Almost every animal uses it to make a barrier that protects tissues that are exposed to the environment, such as the gut or lungs. Now, Barr and a team of researchers have discovered that mucus is also the key to an ancient partnership between animals and viruses.
Barr and his colleagues, who are based at San Diego State University in California, show that animal mucus — whether from humans, fish or corals — is loaded with bacteria-killing viruses called phages. These protect their hosts from infection by destroying incoming bacteria. In return, the phages are exposed to a steady torrent of microbes in which to reproduce. “It’s a unique form of symbiosis, between animals and viruses,” says Rotem Sorek, a microbial geneticist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who was not involved in the research.