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currentsinbiology:

California Trees Nailed As The Source Of Mystery Infections (NPR)
A fungus called Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections, especially in people with compromised immune systems. One-third of AIDS-related deaths are thought to be caused by the fungus.
But though people in Southern California have been getting sick from C. gatti for years, nobody knew how.
"We had a good idea that the fungus was going to be associated with trees," says , a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University who studies C. gatti. “We just didn’t know what trees.”
And she didn’t have the time to find out.
But someone did: Elan Filler, a 7th grader who was looking for a science fair project. Her dad, , an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, ran into , Springer’s advisor, at a conference, and told him about Elan. Heitman told Springer.
Elan Filler and Springer connected on email and figured out a plan. Soon Elan was making her way around greater Los Angeles, swabbing tree trunks and growing out the fungus in Petri dishes. None of the eucalyptus trees in the first batch she gathered tested positive for C. gattii, so she expanded her tests to include more types of trees.
Springer analyzed the genetic fingerprints of fungi in the samples that Elan sent to North Carolina.
Bingo! C. gattii from three trees, Canary Island pine, New Zealand pohutukawa and American sweet gum, matched almost exactly with C. gattii from infected patients. And the tree samples matched not just those from recent patients but from people who were sick 10 to 12 years ago. Thus this strain of C. gattii has been causing health problems in California for at least that long.
The were published Thursday in PLOS Pathogens.
The Canary Island pine is one tree species that hosts a fungus that causes disease in humans.

currentsinbiology:

California Trees Nailed As The Source Of Mystery Infections (NPR)

A fungus called Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections, especially in people with compromised immune systems. One-third of AIDS-related deaths are thought to be caused by the fungus.

But though people in Southern California have been getting sick from C. gatti for years, nobody knew how.

"We had a good idea that the fungus was going to be associated with trees," says , a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University who studies C. gatti. “We just didn’t know what trees.”

And she didn’t have the time to find out.

But someone did: Elan Filler, a 7th grader who was looking for a science fair project. Her dad, , an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, ran into , Springer’s advisor, at a conference, and told him about Elan. Heitman told Springer.

Elan Filler and Springer connected on email and figured out a plan. Soon Elan was making her way around greater Los Angeles, swabbing tree trunks and growing out the fungus in Petri dishes. None of the eucalyptus trees in the first batch she gathered tested positive for C. gattii, so she expanded her tests to include more types of trees.

Springer analyzed the genetic fingerprints of fungi in the samples that Elan sent to North Carolina.

Bingo! C. gattii from three trees, Canary Island pine, New Zealand pohutukawa and American sweet gum, matched almost exactly with C. gattii from infected patients. And the tree samples matched not just those from recent patients but from people who were sick 10 to 12 years ago. Thus this strain of C. gattii has been causing health problems in California for at least that long.

The were published Thursday in PLOS Pathogens.

The Canary Island pine is one tree species that hosts a fungus that causes disease in humans.

(via disgustinghuman)

— 9 hours ago with 293 notes
#I feel like this is going to lead to a tree genocide  #not like that's not constantly happening everywhere  #deadly deadly trees  #must all be destroyed or they'll opress us with their tree devil magic 

averagefairy:

u ever text someone something risky and every second that they dont respond is another spike in ur blood pressure and u stare at your hand like why did u type that u fool its over the universe is crumbling to pieces this is my demise

(via aluminumapples)

— 10 hours ago with 100847 notes
#this is literally how I feel about everything I say to everyone ever 

thesylverlining:

winterwombat:

the-enchanted-mermaid:

Meet the World’s Smallest Rabbit.

Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world’s smallest and among the rarest. 

Miniature bunnies with iridescent ears. Happiness, embodied as a tiny ball of fluff and cute.

TINY BUN WITH COLORFUL EARS ;____;

(via matthewbartholomewesquire)

— 10 hours ago with 188779 notes
#LOOK AT THE BUNBUN  #IT HAS MAGICAL EARS  #bunbunbunbun  #bunny 

gaksdesigns:

Japanese artist Azuma Makoto recently ventured to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to launch a Japanese white pine bonsai into space. The artist also arranged a stunning bouquet with about 30 varieties of flowers from around the world and launched them into space as well. (via TwistedSifter)

— 10 hours ago with 1075 notes
#yes  #shoot all the things into space  #this is beautiful  #art