Driving to work a few weekends ago, I tuned in randomly to a fascinating story from Israel about scanning mummified corpses to gain information about the evolution of bacteria, in particular of TB. Robin Williams from ABC Radio National Science Report was the interviewer – and it was great to hear the “good news” story from Israel. Prof Mark Spigelman was the interviewee in Jerusalem, originally from Sydney.
As the program summarises “People evolve to resist disease and, it seems, bacteria evolve to attack. Mark Spigelman is analysing the genome of ancient bacteria to trace its change over time. The baseline for research will be the bacteria that bring on tuberculosis, found in a mummy 9,000 years old. The mummy site was flooded soon after burial and has remained flooded ever since, preserving the DNA. It is hoped that tracking and understanding the genome’s change over time may assist in fighting the bacteria which cause disease today.”
I was impressed to learn more in this week’s Australian Jewish News … ABC science journalist Robin Williams on a recent trip to Israel interviewed top researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; as part of an initiative from Leon Fink and the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University.
The interviews are to be played on ABC radio over the next few months.
Here are some others already played which can be listened to.
As Robin Williams notes, it is impressive that the Israeli scientific work has generalised and global application.
An excellent initiative, showing the positive things happening in Israel, and reminding the Australian public that Israel is Real.