In medical terms mutations are often viewed through a negative lens, as an occurrence that mostly leads to higher disease susceptibility or causes a disease itself. But what about mutations that protect us from infections or disable a gene that plays a role in chronic disease development?
Category: Issue 25
Flashback to September 3, 1928. On an ordinary autumnal morning in foggy London, Alexander Fleming is returning to the Laboratory of St. Mary’s Hospital, ready to tackle the tasks he left before going on holiday. Firstly, quick and easy one- sorting the petri dishes, with, well, as Fleming thought, probably nothing interesting in them, just a bunch of life- threatening strains of bacteria that are currently killing millions of children and adults across the globe. But he was wrong, today was the day for “Eureka!”. On one dish was something unusual- it was dotted with colonies of growing bacteria, save for the one area where a blob of mold was growing. The zone immediately around the mold was clear, as if the mold had secreted something that inhibited bacterial growth. Today, we know that the mold was a rare strain of Penicillium notatum that secreted penicillin, very unstable substance at first, but many optimisations later, one of the greatest discoveries and advances in therapeutic medicine. The dawn of antibiotic era has begun.