Malarial fevers, herpes viruses, and The Filtrate: they all just keep coming back.
It's often said that politicians and diapers should both be changed regularly, and for the same reasons. According to the folks who run the NIH, the same applies to lab and branch chiefs at the institution, which is about to implement term limits for those powerful positions. The terms would still last 12 years, so don't expect change overnight, but advocates see this as a way to get some fresh - and maybe more diverse - faces into these prestigious research posts.
You know who doesn't need to be any more diverse? The microsporidia. They're a great example of how one can study biology for decades, then suddenly stumble across a paper about some novel branch of life and say "WTF, nature?" Seriously, check them out. They're eukaryotes that have streamlined their genomes so much their life cycle is almost viral, and they seem to infect everything.
As diverse as microsporidia are, though, they're not likely to supplant viruses anytime soon. Indeed, a new analysis using high-throughput sequencing and a massive amount of bioinformatic data mining reveals that viral dominance of the Earth extends across all of the oceans. The researchers found over 195,000 viral populations clustered into five distinct ecological zones. The zones are a surprise, contradicting the view of the global oceans as a big, evenly mixed solution and suggesting that viruses are concentrated by, or perhaps driving, a higher order segregation of the marine ecosystem.
What do you get when you cross a lab mouse with a deer? No, not a deer mouse, but something very useful for studying prion diseases: a cervidized mouse. These animals carry just enough deer DNA to be susceptible to chronic wasting disease, a prion disease now afflicting deer (cervids) in North America and elsewhere. The cervidized mice enabled researchers to develop a promising vaccine against the disease. Delivering it to the deer, however, may be hard.
Compared to deer, humans are pretty easy to immunize, or at least we should be. Unfortunately, an internet-assisted epidemic of stupidity has swept the world in recent years, which is why we're now experiencing a measles epidemic. So how do we vaccinate against that? It's going to take some social science to figure it out, and these folks have made an interesting start. Their "5C" scale measures people's senses of "confidence, complacency, constraints, calculation, and collective responsibility," and could help identify pockets of vaccine hesitancy before the viruses do.