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Gotcha!: Jan 5, 2012

A new study in Nature Genetics sheds light on exactly how bacteria evolved to resist drugs, according to the New Scientist. Harvard University's Erdal Toprak, Adrian Veres, and their colleagues have developed a device they call a "morbidostat," which monitors the growth of bacteria as they are exposed to increasing doses of antibiotics. The researchers used the device to measure how a strain of E. coli responded to three different drugs over the course of 25 days. They found that while resistance increased for all three drugs, resistance to chloramphenicol and doxycycline emerged continuously over time, while resistance to trimethoprim developed discretely, New Scientist says. "The team sequenced the genome of E. coli from the final stage of the experiment," the article adds. "Bacteria resistant to chloramphenicol and doxycycline had a large number of changes all over their genome, suggesting that lots of small mutations outsmart the drugs. For trimethoprim resistance, most changes took place in just one gene."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.