Stefan writes:

Just discovered this nice episode.

Well made and nicely discussed comment on our pack-hunting paper; quick reply to the question what would happen if you add one single amoebae: it would multiply and a clonal pack would do the same thing as observed (they were actually grown from clonal cultures).

But let’s say if only one amoeba was existing before trapping the nematode- no idea if that would be able to kill it alone – would be a nice side study!

very interesting hypotheses you came up with, we should study some of it

Keep on with this great work!


Anthony writes:

Branchial nitrogen cycle symbionts can remove ammonia in fish gills

Just looking at the abstract, I wonder if the relationship really is commensal.  Without the bacteria in the gills, won’t the ammonia still be carried away from the fish?

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Branchial nitrogen cycle symbionts can remove ammonia in fish gills


Knowledge of the mechanisms by which fish excrete their metabolic nitrogenous waste and insights into nitrogen cycling in aquaculture systems is of utmost importance to improve the sustainable commercial production of fish. In fish, most nitrogenous waste is excreted via the gills as ammonia, a potentially toxic nitrogenous compound. In this study; activity assays, physiological experiments, molecular analysis and microscopy were used to show that the gills of fish harbor a unique combination of hitherto overlooked nitrogen-cycle microorganisms that can theoretically detoxify excreted ammonia by converting it into inert dinitrogen gas. By doing so, these microorganisms may benefit from the ammonia supply by the host and prevent the build-up of this compound to toxic concentrations. This novel relationship between vertebrates and microorganisms may shed new light on nitrogen handling by ammonotelic fish species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Copper pajamas?


So by the time Gemma was in the hospital fighting for her life, Amber was ready. She brought in copper pajamas, bedding, socks, and a hospital gown for Gemma. (Since copper is a metal the fabrics were a blend of 60% copper, 20% cotton, and 20% bamboo.) Gemma was skeptical at first but within a couple days she felt much better and noticed the open wound was decreasing in size. “It was incredible,” said Gemma, “the nurses took swabs from my stomach daily and they always came back infected with MRSA, but a few days after wearing the copper-infused clothing, they came back negative. You wouldn’t think something so simple could make such a huge difference but I could feel the difference in my skin almost overnight. Instead of feeling lethargic I felt brighter, more alert and healthier. More importantly, I was healing. It was a miracle.”

Clinical trial mentioned in response…

Suzanne writes:

You’re right, I do hear women saying “guys” plural to others in a group of women. But I still argue that if I said “That guy over there.” you’d be more likely to expect to turn and see a man than a woman. So it isn’t really neutral.

I vote for the spread of y’all!

I catch myself at it, too. I will also try to be more vigilant!

Pat Schloss writes:

Hey gals,

Although I’ll never be accused of being part of the language police, I was taken aback by Vincent and Michael’s reaction to Michele’s comment on TWiM #125 regarding the use of “guys” when referring to people that are involved in computer programming. As you may know, it is thought that there are many small biases throughout the career development of female scientists that discourage them from pursuing specific disciplines – particularly computer science. So it would be worth reconsidering the collective nouns we use to refer to people within science.

To bring some data to the conversation, here’s a large, but admittedly non-scientific survey of 2300 individuals (  The survey showed that men are more likely to think that “guys” is gender neutral when referring to people within a computer science context. Regardless, I think we owe it to our female colleagues and trainees to use the terms that are the most inclusive.

As someone that runs a lab with a heavy bioinformatics focus, it is very important to me to maintain a strong balance between men and women knowing that this is difficult given the poor representation of women in computer science. Both programmers that have worked for me have, in fact, been women. To call them “guys” would be obviously wrong. All kidding aside, I would be unlikely to call them “gals” as well. Instead, I have been working cut “guys” out of my language and go back to my Missouri roots by instead saying “y’all”. If nothing else, every time I force myself to use this odd slang, I remind myself to check my unconscious biases and to be better.

Happy Sciencing!

Pat Schloss

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