Researchers have concluded that a common bacterium is speciating
… researchers collected 906 strains of (clostridium difficile) from humans; animals, such as dogs, pigs and horses; and the environment … (which) were allowed to reproduce in the laboratory … then sequenced each of the strains’ DNA, which (the researchers) compared against each other.
[COLOR=White]___ Results - published in the journal Nature Genetics - suggest C. diff is evolving into a new species, which the scientists named C. difficile clade A.[/COLOR]
(They) noticed the new strain had changes to its genes that break down simple sugars … (and) also evolved differences in its genes that are involved in spore formation. Spores are often resistant to treatment and can be transferred between people (which) may give the bacteria much greater resistance to common hospital disinfectants and allow it to spread more easily in healthcare environments …
umm, and perhaps a bit scary, but,
Dating analysis revealed that while C. difficile Clade A first appeared around 76,000 years ago, the number of different strains started to increase at the end of the 16th Century.
This is disturbing. Half a millennium ago, C. Diff. began to evolve in response to changes that began to occur about a century ago. How does this bug do this, except with time travel?
I think we should consider being mildly terrified of time-traveling malicious microbes.