Paper Out: Using the wax moth larva Galleria mellonella infection model to detect emerging bacterial pathogens

A good start of the year by having a paper published. I blogged about the bioarxiv* version a while back so will keep it short this time: we injected environmental (water and sediment) samples in the Galleria caterpillar and, where mortality was found to be high, isolated the bacterial pathogens responsible. Four isolates were whole-genome sequenced and two proved to be species never found before in the UK. No other methods would have detected such ‘known unknowns’; perhaps expensive and time-consuming metagenomics would have provided glimpses of the DNA of these species (provided they were at high relative abundance, which they might not have been), but this method would not have given much information on pathogenicity, which was our phenotype of interest. Although conceptually very simple, I am quite excited by the potential of this method. Please have a look, it is Open Access:

Hernandez RJ, Hesse E, Dowling AJ, Coyle NM, Feil EJ, Gaze WH, Vos M. 2019. Using the wax moth larva Galleria mellonella infection model to detect emerging bacterial pathogens. PeerJ 6:e6150


Getting this paper published was a right pain btw: a total of seven rejections over a half-year time period: a personal record! I played with the idea of writing up a detailed dissection of this process but decided against it as it might have come across as a boring moan. Suffice to say it reinforced my belief that there are many things wrong with publishing, including journals that do not accept papers published as preprints (but without explaining why, I am looking at you Emerging Infectious Diseases), journals that demand additional experiments sacrifing animals for no good reason (I am looking at you PLoS Pathogens) or journals rejecting a manuscript even when reviewer comments equate to a (very minor) revision (I am looking at you Emerging Microbes and Infections). OK OK I had a little moan after all.

* The good thing about using Bioarxiv was that during this arduous publication process the manuscript abstract was checked almost 2000 times and it was downloaded as a pdf 360 times.

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