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Scientists discover new ‘jumping’ superbug gene
“In treatments, if colistin does not work, it literally could mean death for patients. If colistin resistance spreads, a lot of people will die.”
mcr-9 can cause resistance to colistin 

US food scientists have discovered mcr-9, a new ‘jumping gene’ that can cause resistance to the last resort antibiotic colistin.

Cornell University researchers found mcr-9 in the genome of a strain of salmonella. To their surprise, the salmonella strain did not show colistin resistance.

However, when the gene was inserted into a non-pathogenic strain of E coli, researchers were able to ‘turn on’ mcr-9, making the strain resistant to colistin.

The findings have been published in the journal Mbio.

Co-lead author Laura Carroll said: “When we originally tested the salmonella isolate and found that it wasn’t resistant to colistin, we were perplexed. But when [co-lead author Ahmed Gabella] cloned it into an E. coli host, he was able to find that the gene could confer resistance to colistin.”

Commenting on the findings, Professor Martin Wiedmann said: “In treatments, if colistin does not work, it literally could mean death for patients. If colistin resistance spreads, a lot of people will die.”

mcr-9 is the latest in a string of ‘mobilised colistin-resistance genes’ first discovered in 2015.

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information added details of the new gene to its database, so that it can be used to identify the gene in bacteria isolated from food and people.

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.