NPR has an interview with microbiologist Martin Blaser on how antibiotics might be hurting our microbiomes. Blaser has a new book out on the topic (which coincidentally has "our modern plagues" in the subtitle, although Blaser seems to use a different definition than I do at this blog). And if you want to read even more about Blaser, Carl Zimmer has a Q&A at Wired.
The Conversation has a good explainer on whether adults need to be vaccinated (answer: yes, for certain diseases).
Chili's Grill & Bar made the embarrassing decision to promote an anti-vaccine autism awareness group early in April. Emily Willingham describes the controversy at her Forbes blog. Chili's eventually canceled the event.
And in new vaccine technology news, Jesse Hirsch at Modern Farmer has an interesting story about making flu vaccine with tobacco plants.
In agriculture and plant science news
Carl Zimmer has a great piece from his Matter NYT column about vastly different plant species that swap genes, which undermines the argument that genetic engineering is totally unnatural.
Amanda Little has a New Yorker Elements post about a recent cordial GMO debate between Michael Pollan and Pam Ronald. Definitely worth a read—gives me hope that the GMO conversation may some day move on from its current frustrating state.
Kat McGowan has a piece at Slate about plant communication, which I found entirely delightful.
And there is a cool story at Discover about how GMO trees could help clean up the paper industry.
In creepy crawly news
Researchers at Yale have sequenced the genome of the tsetse fly, a vector for sleeping sickness. Read more at the NYT and Discover.
The Conversation takes a look at the bugs and bacteria that live on our bodies. The hookworm photo is especially haunting.
Brazil has approved a genetically-engineered mosquito that is intended to help fight dengue fever.
I love this story by Rebecca Kreston at Body Horrors about an unusual case of a hospital needle spreading malaria.