TWiV 227: Lacks security and bad poultry

April 7, 2013

comingled birdsHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Dickson DespommierAlan Dove, and Kathy Spindler

The complete TWiV team reviews the controversial publication of the HeLa cell genome, a missing vial of Guanarito virus in a BSL-4 facility, and human infections with avian influenza H7N9 virus.

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  • Junio C Hamano

    I found the discussion on privacy issues around publication and retraction of sequences of the HeLa cells very interesting. And it made me wonder…

    I understand these immortal cancer-derived cells are different from normal cells, so they may not perfectly replicate what would happen inside normal human cells, but even discounting that, it would not be a useful tool to do science unless these cells from the same origin spread around labs all over the world are still “the same”. If HeLa cells at Vincent’s lab and those at Rich’s lab have now diverged too much and react differently to the same virus, replication studies would be very hard to do.

    Another thing I wonder is if the HeLa cells kept at labs today are the same as those used 10 or 20 years ago, or if they somehow mutated and behave even more differently from normal human cells.

    How do scientists make sure HeLa cells their lab keep are still the same as everybody else’s, have not changed over time, and still a useful model? Sequencing from time to time and comparing the result between labs (and with the record of previous sequencing) is one way a layperson like me can think of off-hand, but that sounds still a bit too expensive and cumbersome.

    Thank you always for interesting podcast. Many times I find the discussion full of three-letter-acronyms way over my level of understanding, but the happiness in voices of real scientists having fun talking about sciences they love alone is contagious and urges me to listen to new episode every Sunday.

  • gsgs

    40:00 H7N9, poultry markets in China etc.

    43:30 HP vs. LP

    47:00 reassortant

    gsgs – I’ll probably reply later in more detail

    almost all flu-A are reassortants, better ask when did the last one
    happen ?

    mallards frequently swap HA(4) and NA(6)

    48:30 W-shape for H5N1

    49:15 serine at 61 as 1918 (what segment ?)

    50:00 alpha 2,6

    50:00 correction W-shape for H1N1(2009)

    51:00 infecting humans since thousands of years

    52:00 speculates about much undetected infection

    in humans by all 16*9 types “millenia”

    (common ancester of HAs and NAs ~400years ago)

    >rare exposure to mallards, poultry swine exploded in

    > recent decades

    55:00 pigs in river

    56:00 maybe a weather event

    Brian Kimble’s blog

    57:00 gsgs – happened in chickens cause there are many similar H9N2
    chickens at genbank

    ( segments 1,2,3,5,7,8) even from 2012,2013

    57:30

    58:00 predictions: all say “no”, I agree, but Vincent should have asked for
    subjective

    probabilities instead, not just is it danger is reassortment

    1:02:00 Kimble paper, 2011 about H9N2+H1N1 in ferrets

    1:05:00 emails

    1:21 insects from lego-pieces

    1:25 debate (email) professional fraudsters

    Alan Dove against antivax debate

    1:31 google flu

    was on TWIV

  • gsgs

    profvrr mentioned google+ … is that where the scientists meet ?

    I rarely find them talking online.

    OK, so I created a blog there and put some info about H7N9 on it

    http://gsgs2.blogspot.de

    I’m planning to improve,complete this later and add new info when

    new sequences are published (hopefully in genbank)