MOUSE POO TURNED BLUE
What did they do?
A team at Harvard Medical School engineered gut bacteria in a group of mice to turn their poo blue when they are in the presence of disease.
How did they do that?
They engineered a harmless strain of E. coli bacteria to produce a particular enzyme when it came into contact with tetrathionate – a substance seen in high levels in the guts of people with ulcerative colitis. They were then able to identify the enzyme in the animals’ stools using a test in which it changes colour.
Why did they do that?
Understandably, many people aren’t exactly thrilled when they hear the words “You’re going to need an endoscopy”. However, there are currently few alternatives when it comes to diagnosing gut disorders. The team hopes that their technique can be used in place of uncomfortable and intrusive cameras to check for gut illnesses in those feeling a bit, er, off colour.