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A hidden genetic code for better designer genes

How rare 'words' in bacterial genes boost protein production. Scientists routinely seek to reprogram bacteria to produce proteins for drugs, biofuels and more, but they have struggled to get those bugs to follow orders. But a hidden feature of the genetic code, it turns out, could get bugs with... Read More

UC Davis Researchers Find How Viral Infection Disrupts Neural Development in Offspring, Increasing Risk of Autism

Activating a mother’s immune system during her pregnancy disrupts the development of neural cells in the brain of her offspring and damages the cells' ability to transmit signals and communicate with one another, researchers with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Department of Neurology h... Read More

E. coli Keeps Its Powder Dry

Whether inhabiting soil, fresh water, or marine ecosystems, bacteria are constantly facing the threat of numerous and effective predators such as protists, nematodes, or phages. To defend against such predation, bacteria have evolved a number of strategies, including getting larger in size, movi... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 137 - Germ's Jammer Jumpstarts Genes

This episode: Pathogen's CRISPR-Cas system (for defense against viruses) can be modified to change gene expression in mammals!




Download Epis... Read More

'Facts' of C. Diff Transmission Challenged

A sophisticated genetic analysis of Clostridium difficile cases is challenging the conventional wisdom that symptomatic patients are responsible for most transmission in hospitals.

Whole-genome sequencing of C. difficile isolates from more than 1,200 patients found that only 35% were related ... Read More

Government Shutdown Would Halt Seasonal Influenza Program

If the government shuts down in the absence of a budget agreement, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be unable to support its seasonal influenza program that monitors the spread of flu, the Obama administration has announced.

The program is part of a series of initiati... Read More

Mystery Disease Killing Ohio Dogs

Veterinarians, health officials and dog owners are alarmed by the mysterious recent deaths of four dogs in Ohio. Some experts suspect the dogs may have died a few days after exposure to a virus that's normally found in pigs.

Three dogs in the Cincinnati area and a fourth dog near Akron died i... Read More

New Hepatitis Virus was False Alarm, Likely a Lab Contaminant

The report by scientists of a new hepatitis virus earlier this year was a false alarm, according to UC San Francisco researchers who correctly identified the virus as a contaminant present in a type of glassware used in many research labs.

Their finding, they said, highlights both the promise... Read More

NIH Launches Microbiome Cloud Project

The National Institutes of Health has launched the first phase of the Microbiome Cloud Project, or MCP, a collaborative project with Amazon Web Services that aims to improve access to and analysis of data from the Human Microbiome Project.

In this phase, five terabytes of genetic information ... Read More

TWiV 252: Who read the last email?



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Read More

A Virus on the Camera Roll

Smartphone cameras are getting better and better. But how about one that can photograph a single virus?

It won't come with the latest iPhones, but it does exist thanks to electrical engineer Aydogan Ozcan and his team at the University of California, Los Angeles. Using 3-D printing, they've c... Read More

Model to Study Human Response to Bacteria That Cause Peptic Ulcers Developed

Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have developed a new large animal model to study how the immune system interacts with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of peptic ulcer disease.

The discovery in the October edition of the journal... Read More

Fouchier vs the Dutch government on influenza H5N1 research

Readers of this blog will remember the furor sparked by Fouchier’s experiments in 2011 in which he developed an avian influenza H5N1 isolate that could transmit among ferrets by aerosol. When Fouchier was ready to publish the results, the Dutch government required that Fouchier apply for an expo... Read More

Community surveillance and polymicrobial infections

I'll start by saying this was a study from my own lab which provided insight into why multi-species bacterial infections are more severe than mono-culture infections. The idea of 'polymicrobial synergy' has been around for some time, but the reasons behind synergy have been elusive. I follow TWi... Read More

TWiP 60: Urine a game of cat and mouse



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson discus... Read More

TWiP 60 letters

Maureen writes:


Our vaccine unit here at NIH did a study of malaria vaccine with some promising results. I know Dickson has been a champion of conquering malaria.


http://www.scie... Read More

MERS At One: The Deadly Virus Drizzle

We have the dubious privilege of observing a new disease in the midst of being born. The disease could go on to spread around the world, stall out as a minor, local blight, or disappear altogether. Scientists have been observing its emergence for a year now, and while they know more than they di... Read More

Adjusting bacteria in intestines may lead to obesity treatments

A drug that appears to target specific intestinal bacteria in the guts of mice may create a chain reaction that could eventually lead to new treatments for obesity and diabetes in humans, according to a team of researchers.

Mice fed a high-fat diet and provided tempol, an anti-oxidant drug th... Read More

Researchers discover new microbe near Chilean coastal fault line

A team of researchers from McMaster and the University of Concepción are shining a light on rare sulfur-loving microbes off the coast of Chile.

The group's work near coastal fault lines has identified a previously unknown type of molecule, macplocimine A, which produces valuable natural chemi... Read More

Foot Cream Kills HIV by Tricking Cells to Commit Suicide

Ciclopirox is currently approved by the FDA as a topical antifungal cream (Credit: Fougera) A common drug that dermatologists turn to treat nail fungus appears to come with a not-so-tiny side effect: eradicating HIV.

In a study performed at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, not only does the... Read More

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