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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

"From soil samples from all corners of the globe, Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York have reported the discovery of the new antibiotics, called malacidins"..........."These new antibiotics can wipe out many infections in lab and animal tests, including some microbes that are resistant to most traditional antibiotics"..................So for those folks who say "what good is 'this or that creature, plant or acre of unimproved land', I ask you to open up your mind and soak in the sage words of our great 20th Century biologist Aldo Leopold who said: "The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land"............. "In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it"............... "It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such"............" The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, "What good is it?"......................... "If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not".............. "If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?".......... "To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering"

Scientists Unearth Hope for New Antibiotics

Researchers identified new compounds by sifting through genetic material from soil samples

In a bag of backyard dirt, scientists have discovered a powerful new group of antibiotics they say can wipe out many infections in lab and animal tests, including some microbes that are resistant to most traditional antibiotics.
Researchers created an online citizen science project called ‘Drugs from Dirt’ that solicits donations of dirt from volunteers around the world. PHOTO: ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY

Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York reported the discovery of the new antibiotics, called malacidins, on Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology.
It is the latest in a series of promising antibiotics found through innovative genetic sequencing techniques that allow researchers to screen thousands of soil bacteria that previously could not be grown or studied in the laboratory. To identify the new compounds, the Rockefeller researchers sifted through genetic material culled from 1,500 soil samples.
“We extract DNA directly out of soil samples,” said biochemist Sean Brady at Rockefeller’s Laboratory for Genetically Encoded Small Molecules, a senior author on the new study. “We put it into a bug we can grow easily in the laboratory and see if it can make new molecules—the basis of new antibiotics.”

The new compounds appear to interfere with the ability of infectious bacteria to build cell walls—a function so basic to cellular life that it seems unlikely that the microbes could evolve a way to resist it. In lab tests, bacteria were exposed to the experimental antibiotics for 21 days without developing resistance, the scientists said.

Rockefeller University researchers led by biochemist Sean Brady (at right) extracted DNA directly out of soil samples. PHOTO: ZACH VEILLEUX/ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY

So far, the new compounds also appear safe and effective in mice, but there are no plans yet to submit it for human testing. “It is early days for these compounds,” Dr. Brady said
The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th century transformed modern medicine, but many of them gradually became ineffective as bacteria evolved defenses, often by acquiring protective genes from other more-resistant micro-organisms.
In the U.S. alone, at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths can be attributed each year to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. World-wide, deaths due to untreatable infections are predicted to rise 10-fold by 2050.
About 48 experimental antibiotics are undergoing clinical trials. Few of them, though, are aimed at the most intractable drug-resistant infections and, if past history is any guide, most are unlikely to be approved for patient use, several public-health experts said. 
This image shows Enterobacteriaceae, a group of bacteria that includes common pathogens such as such as salmonella and shigella. PHOTO: U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

“Only a fraction of those will make it,” said Kathy Talkington, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. “Generating new antibiotics and new therapies will take a while.”
In the quest for new antibiotics, researchers like Dr. Brady and others are deploying advanced genomics, synthetic-biology tools, and a variety of other innovative ways to explore a vast natural reservoir of bacteria notoriously difficult to isolate and study—the so-called “dark matter” of microbiology.
In May, researchers led by chemist Dale Boger at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego created a more-potent version of vancomycin—considered an antibiotic of last resort for the most intractable infections. In a soil sample from Italy, researchers at Rutgers University last June unearthed a powerful new antibiotic called pseudouridimycin. Neither, though, is ready for clinical trials.
At Northeastern University in Boston, microbiologist Slava Epstein and his colleagues have screened thousands of bacteria strains using a portable device he invented called the iChip that allows bio-prospectors to isolate and grow finicky micro-organisms.

In 2016, they discovered an antibiotic called teixobactin. It too is years away from clinical trials.
“I did not understand how long it takes to develop an antibiotic, even when things go well,” he said.
To broaden their search for new therapeutic compounds, Dr. Brady and his Rockefeller colleagues set up an online citizen science project called “Drugs from Dirt” that solicits soil donations from around the world. The sandy soil that yielded the new malacidin antibiotics was shipped by relatives from the southwestern U.S.
“I think my parents sent it to me,” said Dr. Brady.

In Defense of Biodiversity: Why Protecting Species from Extinction Matters

A number of biologists have recently made the argument that extinction is part of evolution and that saving species need not be a conservation priority. But this revisionist thinking shows a lack of understanding of evolution and an ignorance of the natural world.

New species do not suddenly “arise,” nor are they really new. They evolve from existing species, as population gene pools change.

Do we really wish a world with only what we “rely on for food and shelter?” Do animals have no value if we don’t eat them?

It’s not that anyone thinks humans have not greatly changed the world, or will stop changing it. Rather, as the great wildlife ecologist Aldo Leopold wrote in his 1949 classic A Sand County Almanac, “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”
Article by:Carl Safina; Feb 12, 2018- Safina is a marine ecologist and environmental writer, is the author of seven books, including the award-winning Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross. Safina is the founding president of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University, where he is also a professor of nature and humanity. He is a winner of the 2012 Orion Award and a MacArthur Prize, among others.

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