Tuesday, June 01, 2004

You don't care that the CDC has isolated anthrax plasmids (the parts that make it fatal to mammals) from a different bacterium, B. cereus. But you should:
Some taxonomists have argued that this is evidence of such a close genetic relationship between the two bacteria that B. thuringiensis should be considered a variant subspecies of B. cereus. The same argument has been made for the relationship between´┐ŻB. anthracis, the plasmid-encoded anthrax toxin, and B. cereus.
And 30% of the corn planted in the US has Bt genes in it.

[Alex R. Hoffmaster et al., "Identification of anthrax toxin genes in a Bacillus cereus associated with an illness resembling inhalation anthrax," PNAS 101/22 (2004), 8449-8454]

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