If memory serves correct mushroom fungus is similarly able to "evolve"
Take one of the deadly mushroom species such as aminita or death camas
and find a growth medium which cultures both mushrooms and bubonic plague
add some simple cell fusion chems , ..... the possibilities are endless.
"Michael M. Butler" wrote:
> Hoo boy. Not sure where this is from, but interesting if true.
> Bubonic plague genome is "unusually fluid"
> 19:00 03 October 01
> Debora MacKenzie
> Bubonic plague, the bacterium blamed for the Black Death of medieval
> Europe and now a potential biological weapon, has had its entire
> genome sequenced. The genes seem to be "unusually fluid", readily
> re-arranging themselves and picking up new genes from other microbes.
> That could mean that more virulent strains of plague might emerge.
> More ominously, it suggests that enhanced strains might be relatively
> easy to develop as weapons.
> The bacillus that causes bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis, commonly
> infects rodents in Asia, Africa and the Americas. But it occasionally
> spreads to humans, with lethal effect.
> It does so by infecting both insects and mammals. Fleas that feed on
> infected rodents swallow the bacteria, which infect and block their
> midguts. The starving fleas feed voraciously, but only regurgitate
> the blood they try to swallow - along with the bacteria. So plague
> spreads among rodents, often causing only mild disease.
> If the infected flea bites a human, however, up to half the victims
> die, unless treated with antibiotics. If the bacteria invade the
> lungs of such patients, and they cough them out, nearby people may
> catch "pneumonic" plague. This is always fatal without treatment.
> Pneumonic plague is the form feared as a potential biological weapon,
> as it can be released as an aerosol and can spread directly among
> humans, without the intervention of fleas. The Soviet Union developed
> such a plague weapon.
> "Pathogenicity islands"
> The gene sequence of Yersinia pestis, produced by Julian Parkhill of
> the Sanger Centre in Cambridge, UK and colleagues, shows how the
> bacillus learned to infect both insects and mammals.
> It picked up genes directly from baculoviruses that infect insects,
> including one for a toxin that damages the midgut. It also acquired
> "pathogenicity islands", assemblages of genes from other bacteria
> that help cause human disease.
> The sequence also reveals novel surface molecules, which might
> provide new ways to attack plague. But "this genome displays unusual
> fluidity," comment Stewart Cole and Carmen Buchreiser in Nature,
> where the genome is published. Numerous Yersinia genes have been
> copied backwards and have swapped positions within the genome,
> sometimes creating different variants in the same population.
> These recombinations could mean differences in virulence in a single
> batch of plague, they note. That could also mean that the bacteria -
> or bioweapons developers - have the genes at their disposal for new
> and potentially nastier strains of disease.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:12 MDT