miércoles, 27 de julio de 2016

Was Tuberculosis Born Out of Fire?

By damaging lungs and bringing people together, fire may have turned a soil microbe into a global pathogen.

Many thousands of years ago, on a chilly African night, a group of people gather around a fire in a cave. Using the flames, they cook their food, fashion new weapons, and warm themselves. But where there’s fire, there’s also smoke, and the smoke is giving the huddled humans a wretched cough. And in their inflamed airways, a microbe that normally lives in the soil is taking hold, changing, evolving into something new.

This, according to Rebecca Chisholm and Mark Tanaka, biologists at the University of New South Wales, is a possible origin story for one of the oldest human diseases—tuberculosis.Caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the disease formerly known as consumption has been plaguing people for tens of thousands of years.[...] The Atlantic

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