Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Frank Zappa has his own bacterium

A new bacterial isolate infesting vineyards turns out to be a recently emerged variant of the same bacterium which causes human acne. The new isolate is dubbed Propionibacterium Acne Zappa, in honor of Frank Zappa's song lyrics of "sand-blasted zits." In new work in Molecular Biology and Evolution,  Italian scientists have confirmed that the bacterium, which infests the bark and leaves of grapevines, is descended from the human acne-causing bacterium. It is very rare for pathogens to jump between evolutionary kingdoms, i.e. from animals to plants.
This work will appear in today's issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

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