In the Hawaiian bobtail squid (pictured), scientists have found that the same
bacterial toxin that causes whooping cough and gonorrhea in humans is responsible
for the development of an important organ. The finding, reported in the Nov.
12 Science magazine, suggests that the role of bacteria in their host organisms
depends significantly on the biological context in which they are found. In
one place, a bacterium may have a harmful role; in another, it may be critical
for the animal's survival. The corresponding author of the Science paper is
Margaret McFall-Ngai, a UW-Madison professor of medical microbiology.
Photo by: William Ormerod/courtesy Margaret McFall-Ngai
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