DNA Documents 40 Million-Year Battle For Survival Between Primate and Pathogen
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Examination of DNA from 21 primate species – from squirrel monkeys to humans – exposes an evolutionary war against infectious bacteria over iron that circulates in the blood. Published in Science, these findings demonstrate the vital importance of an underappreciated defense mechanism, nutritional immunity, in fighting infectious disease. Matthew Barber, Ph.D., first author and postdoctoral fellow in human genetics at the University of Utah, describes the study and how it models an approach for uncovering reservoirs of genetic resistance to bacterial infections, knowledge that could be used to confront antibiotic resistance and emerging diseases.