Elio Schaechter and Mark Martin of Small Things Considered asked friends and colleagues to point to papers published in 2010 that tickled their fancy.
Margaret McFall-Ngai - I'd vote for the paper on Drosophila microbes affecting the fly's mating behavior. The story from Eugene Rosenberg's lab came out in PNAS at the end of 2010.
Lisa Gorski - I'm fascinated by the idea that by opening up these treasures (in this case the prehistoric drawings in the Lascaux caves) so that we can see and study them, you alter the environment such that the new microbes that grow can destroy the thing you want to study. Kind of hits my two passions in wanting to know about microbiology and wanting to study ancient civilizations.
I also find it interesting that in just the few decades that the caves have been open to the public human pathogens have become part of the flora found in the caves. I found this article on the microbiology of the Lascaux caves by French, Spanish, and Czech microbiologists to be quite interesting.
Yuri Gorby - From my perspective and interests, the most exciting paper I read this year came from the Danes Lars Peter Nielsen and Nils Risgaard-Petersen. (We just discussed this one in class.) The next was from Zara Summers and colleagues, published in Science a couple of months ago, showing interspecies electron transfer.
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