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FILE - Test tubes filled with samples of bacteria to be tested are seen at the Health Protection Agency in north London. VOA
  • For centuries, mythologies around the world used the so-called tree of life as a metaphor for diversity stemming from a single source
  • Scientists say an updated view on symbiomes could have a profound effect not only on biology but also on many areas of science, including technology and even on society

June 19, 2017: Scientists from several U.S. and Chinese universities say new findings of microbes and their interaction with other species show that Darwin’s theory of evolution needs an update.

Their contention is based on discoveries that all plants and animals, including humans, evolved in interaction with a huge number of microscopic species — bacteria, viruses and fungi — not only in harmful but also in beneficial ways.


ALSO READ: Soil Erosion: Scientists discover Earliest Human Impact on Environment

In a paper published by the scientific journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, scientists from the University of Colorado, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and several other universities say Darwin’s tree of life fails to recognize that many forms of life are linked physically and evolved together in so-called symbiomes.

The authors propose creating a working group that would use advanced computational methods to create a multidimensional evolutionary tree describing our complex interaction with microbes.

For centuries, mythologies around the world used the so-called tree of life as a metaphor for diversity stemming from a single source.

In 1859, Charles Darwin used the same concept to explain his theory of evolution, depicting it as a two-dimensional tree with individual species evolving independently of other branches.

Scientists say an updated view on symbiomes could have a profound effect not only on biology but also on many areas of science, including technology and even on society. (VOA)


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The researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and found that levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically to be almost undetectable.

A chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein serves as a "trap" for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially tamping down transmission, finds a new study.

The researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and found that levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically to be almost undetectable, indicates the study published in the journal Molecular Therapy.

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"SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone d sneezes, coughs, or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others," said researcher Henry Daniell from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

"This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission," Daniell added.

To test the chewing gum, the team grew angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in plants, paired with another compound that enables the protein to cross mucosal barriers and facilitates binding, and incorporated the resulting plant material into cinnamon-flavoured gum tablets.

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