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[Biology Breach]


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Posted Sat Dec 4 2010: from Nature, via SciDev:
Loss of biodiversity increases spread of disease
A review of several dozen studies that examined 12 different diseases in various ecosystems found that biodiversity seems to protect ecosystems against the transmission of diseases. "A pattern is emerging," said Felicia Keesing, a biologist at Bard College, United States. Researchers still do not know why this is the case but they have suggested that, in more diverse environments, disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, more often end up in a 'dead end' host that does not transmit it as efficiently. But the study also found that, in areas with higher biodiversity, diseases might be more prone to jumping from animals to humans. Keesing thinks that it could be greater interaction between humans and wildlife, such as hunting for bush meat, that fosters the jump into humans -- not biodiversity itself. "Biodiversity could be a source of new diseases but, once a disease emerges, greater biodiversity is protective," she said.
[Read more stories about: ecosystem interrelationships, habitat loss]

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'Doc Michael says:
With more critters to pick on, maybe they won't need to pick on us humans!

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