Field of Science

Brief update

Things are progressing much faster than usual - this will be an epic week for paper-submitting!

The Research Associate submitted her manuscript about natural competence in E. coli a few days ago, to the Journal of Bacteriology.  She's done a mass of work showing that a wide range of E. coli strains (including the full ECOR collection) are not naturally transformable even when their competence regulons are induced by artificial expression of Sxy from a high-copy plasmid.  But a bit of transformation does happen if recombination functions are also artificially provided by inducing the lambda 'recombineering' genes.  So the competence regulon does encode a functional DNA uptake machinery.  We don't know why it's so inefficient compared to those of other bacteria, though we make a few suggestions.

The arseniclife analyses have all been replicated and the manuscript is almost ready for submission to Science as a Report. We're aiming for Monday - the grad student and his supervisor are still polishing up their figures.

After what seems like an eternity of wrestling with his DNA uptake specificity data, the analyses, and the interpretations, the post-doc and I now agree that we have an excellent manuscript that will be ready to submit to PNAS within a few days.

A manuscript by a visiting grad student from a few years ago is also going to be submitted within the next few days.  It describes her investigations into competence of a relative of Haemophilus influenze, the poultry pathogen Gallibacterium anatis.  We're listed as authors because some of the work was done in our lab, and because we've contributed quite a bit to the analysis and writing.

And finally, my article about how the teaching of introductory genetics needs to change is just about ready to send to PLoS Biology!


  1. There is one thing that fascinates me.
    The Research Associate, a postdoc ... - do those guys have names?

  2. Of course. By not using their names I leave them a bit of privacy.


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