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Crab shell signaling helps control the many faces of cholera

In humans, cholera is among the world’s most deadly diseases, killing as many as 140,000 persons a year, according to World Health Organization statistics. But in aquatic environments far away from humans, the same bacterium attacks neighboring microbes with a toxic spear and often steals DNA from other microorganisms to expand its own capabilities. A new study of more than 50 samples of Vibrio cholerae isolated from both patients and the environment demonstrates the diversity and resourcefulness of the organism. This new research provides information that could lead to development of better therapeutic agents against the disease, which is found in densely-populated areas with limited sanitation and clean water.

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