Squid houses bacteria to keep its eggs safe

No bigger than a thumb, the Hawaiian bobtail squid needs all the help it
can get to survive. Researchers have long known that this cephalopod, Euprymna scolopes,
houses bioluminescent bacteria in a special light organ just for that
purpose. The light helps camouflage the squid from predators below, and
the squid has specific proteins to aim this spotlight.
Now, researchers have discovered that the bobtail hosts other bacterial
guests as well—and may depend on them to keep squid eggs safe. Many
octopuses watch over their eggs as they develop. Not the bobtail squid,
which leaves its eggs unattended on coral reefs. Yet it does have a
small gland in its reproductive tract whose function has been a mystery
for almost a century. Curious about this gland, microbiologists isolated DNA from it, identifying about a dozen types of microbes.
These microbes are deposited in the jelly encasing the squid’s eggs.
Now, the researchers have treated bobtail squid eggs with antibiotic and
left them in seawater. In just 11 days, the eggs became coated with a
“fuzz” of fungi and suffocated, they reported this week at the Frontiers
in Phylogenetics meeting at the National Museum of Natural History here.

This work is out of our lab!

Decriminalizing Prostitution Is Central to Transgender Rights


Here is an interesting article by Evan Urquhart over at Slate.

Urquhart argues that the phenomenon called “walking while trans” – when police officers assume that anyone who looks like a transgender woman must be engaging in sex work –   is one of many reasons why the complete decriminalization of all sex work must be a central piece in the struggle for transgender human rights. 

Urquhart writes:

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 19 percent of all trans people, and 47 percent of black trans women, have engaged in sex work. This does not take place in a vacuum but in the context of pervasive societal discrimination against trans people in general, and trans women of color in particular. Widespread bias against trans people severely limits access to traditional employment, housing, and health care—but also, through family rejection, to informal kinship-based networks of support.

“Crushing poverty, homelessness by bigotry, and other institutional biases perpetuate the need for ‘survival sex,’ ” explained Nat Paul, a leading expert on the intersections of trafficking and sex work, who experienced trafficking firsthand before becoming an advocate for transgender victims of the practice. Paul added that “survival sex” is often conflated with sex work, “but I try to differentiate because survival is not consent but necessity.”

More here!

Decriminalizing Prostitution Is Central to Transgender Rights