Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding robustness in organisms -- a potential weapon against infectious diseases

Date:
June 20, 2010
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
"Robust" is an adjective appreciatively applied to certain vintage wines, but when describing viruses and pathogens, robustness is a property that may be much less desirable. It evokes drug resistant microbes and other superbugs that can wreak havoc as researchers struggle to deal with new pandemics. How can we undercut this robustness? A new study examines the ability of organisms to survive in the face of various kinds of change.

"Robust" is an adjective appreciatively applied to certain vintage wines, but when describing viruses and pathogens, robustness is a property that may be much less desirable. It evokes drug resistant microbes and other superbugs that can wreak havoc as researchers struggle to deal with new pandemics. How can we undercut this robustness?

Related Articles


A study in the journal Chaos, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), examines the ability of organisms to survive and sustain themselves in the face of various kinds of change. C. Brandon Ogbunugafor and his team at Yale University looked at new and existing data to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the study of robustness as a formal concept and its application in infectious systems. They found that while one must be careful in defining and applying the premise of robustness, the infectious disease paradigm was full of examples where further application might be useful. While preliminary, Dr. Ogbunugafor's work could have far-reaching implications in a world with increasing numbers of drug-resistant strains of disease.

"We believe that further application of the robustness concept, with experiments designed to test it in other systems, might aid in how we study and treat infectious diseases of various kinds," Ogbunugafor says. "This is quite exciting, as it uncovers fertile ground for the application of an exciting concept in the context of infectious diseases that is highly relevant to everyday life."

While there are still a number of unanswered questions, researchers are hopeful that the application of this concept could help predict how organisms evolve. Ultimately, Ogbunugafor predicts that the application of the robustness concept could serve as a "Rosetta Stone" for predictive evolution, which might constitute the next paradigm shift in evolutionary biology. "Perhaps by understanding how robustness manifests in diseases like influenza and malaria, for example, we'll be better able to predict drug resistant variants before they arise and stay a step ahead of the enemy in the ubiquitous arms race between us and the microbes that threaten our well-being," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Brandon Ogbunugafor et al. On the Possible Role of Robustness in the Evolution of Infectious Diseases. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, 2010; (forthcoming) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Understanding robustness in organisms -- a potential weapon against infectious diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616090122.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2010, June 20). Understanding robustness in organisms -- a potential weapon against infectious diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616090122.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Understanding robustness in organisms -- a potential weapon against infectious diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616090122.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins