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Fecal viruses and facist infections

Harry Caufield

(Yeah, that's a gross title.)

C. difficile. It causes colitis. It has no political affiliation. Image from Wikipedia.

C. difficile. It causes colitis. It has no political affiliation. Image from Wikipedia.

 

Two items of interest today:

  1. An essay in The Verge, published yesterday, about American facist states in literature.  It's relevant to the Trumpism I posted about recently (and will post about again, eventually). While Trump is the worrisome candidate du jour the article makes no mention of Barry Goldwater's not-dissimilar 1964 campaign. Also relevant, though not specifically about America: Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo UiIt holds up well.
  2. This mBio paper about fecal microbiome transplants and their viral components. Fecal transplants have been shown to have promise in treating colitis. They're intended to re-establish a healthy microbiome where there is only dysbiosis but a microbiome isn't just a bacterial culture. Depending on the microbiome it may have a rich phage population, too, and those phages get transferred along with everything else in a fecal transplant. That's what the results of this paper imply, at least. We still don't have a clear idea of what an average gut viriome looks like. We're a bit hampered by our limited understanding of phage diversity; all we know is that we've only begun to explore it.

Here's the full citation for that mBio paper:

Chehoud, C., Dryga, A., Hwang, Y., Nagy-Szakal, D., Hollister, E. B., Luna, R. A., … Bushman, F. D. (2016). Transfer of Viral Communities between Human Individuals during Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. mBio, 7(2), e00322–16. http://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00322-16.