ASM2012 highlights

BMC Microbiology and BMC Infectious Diseases have returned from ASM2012, the 112th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The conference, held this year in San Francisco, spanned a broad range of topics with the Human Microbiome Project generating a lot of buzz.

Jean Claverie discussed whether bigger was better when it comes to viral genomes with Megavirus chilensis and its (astonishing) 1,259,197 bp genome. The virus was discovered whilst diving in Chile showing that science doesn’t have to be lab-based! Apparently an even bigger sibling has been discovered….

Toby Kiers gave a fascinating talk on the interactions between mychorrhizal fungi and their plant host in allocation of resources. Co-operative fungi (those that provide the plant with a greater amount of phosphorus) are ‘rewarded’ with the allocation of more carbon than their less helpful colleagues.

Vibrio cholera and the CqsA/CqsS quorum-sensing system was the topic of Bonnie Bassler’s talk and whilst we missed David Hughes update on the zombie ant story we hear the room was packed.

ASM2013 will be held in Denver and promises to be an equally exciting meeting.

 Image: Megavirus particle. Source: Chantal Abergel

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