What's Hot in the Microbial Sciences - Winter 2021

In this issue, "What's Hot" takes a look at published articles that address directed research on pathogens as well as articles that are interesting, clever and just might someday lead to an application that makes the world a healthier place.

Microbiology Mysteries

Researchers are puzzled by the increased deaths of songbirds associated with a mysterious disease that is causing lethargy, neurological symptoms and crusty, oozing patches over the eyes of songbirds in the eastern United States.

Nature vs. Nurture? Heritability of the Microbiome

Commensal bacteria are known to be more similar between relatives than nonrelatives, but it is less clear whether gut microbiome traits are heritable or more likely to result from shared environments between related individuals.

Evolution of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Compared to the ongoing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), relatively little is known about the de novo emergence of resistance genes or the role of microbial physiology on resistance.

How Does Phage DNA Enter a Bacterial Host?

(Hint: It Isn't as Simple as You Learned in Your General Microbiology Class.)

Why Do Respiratory Infections Often Lead to Intestinal Symptoms?

Although influenza is primarily considered a respiratory disease, influenza virus infections frequently are associated with complications outside of the respiratory tract, including intestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

New Insights into Microbes and Biogeochemical Cycles

It has been suggested that of all of Earth's biogeochemical cycles, the methane cycle is the most tightly linked to climate.

How Do Fungi Breech Plant Surfaces?

To better understand how oomycetes breech plant surfaces during infection, a publication in Nature Microbiology analyzed how the fungus that caused the devastating Irish Potato Famine invades potatoes.

Explore the latest groundbreaking research in the microbial sciences, stay up-to-date with what's happening at ASM and read cutting edge scientific articles in Microcosm, ASM's flagship, members-only magazine. This new digital format for Microcosm provides easier access to the most recent scientific content for ASM members.


Stanley Maloy, Ph.D.

San Diego State University

Managing Editor

Aleea Khan

Production Editor

Tyniah McDuffie


Ashley Hagen, M.S.

Geoff Hunt, Ph.D.

Amy Kullas, Ph.D.

Katherine Lontok, Ph.D.

Stephen Ornes


Victor DiRita, Ph.D.

Michigan State University


Steven Finkel, Ph.D.

University of Southern California


Timothy J. Donohue, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin


Marylynn Yates, Ph.D.

University of California


Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D.

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Catherine Ort-Mabry


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