It is a tragedy of war that innocent bystanders often get caught in the crossfire. But now scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and University of Oxford have shown how a battle for survival at a microscopic level could leave humans as the unlikely victims. The researchers have found a possible explanation for why some bacteria turn nasty, even at great risk to their own survival. In a study published in Current Biology, scientists have modeled in mice how the common bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia interacts with other bacteria, showing that competition for space between rival bacteria can cause deadlier forms of bacteria to evolve.
According to co-author Jeffrey Weiser, PhD, professor of Microbiology and Pediatrics, the results could have implications for the development of new treatments and vaccines against infection. "Our study demonstrates the complex interactions among the many microbial species that live in our bodies," he says. "Usage of antibiotics and vaccines is increasingly influencing these relationships, potentially tipping the outcome of the battle between competing microbes. Our ongoing war on infectious diseases should consider the effects of microbes on one another."
For more, please read the Wellcome Trust news release:
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