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A microbial mystery in the Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is different than other deserts: it has an unusual geographic feature that differentiates it from most others. This desert (map, right) is where you can find ‘fairy circles,’ or circular areas absent of growth in an already plant-scarce environment. These deadened circles are su... Read More

Dispatches from ASM Microbe - Sunday

We’ve had a whirlwind of amazing talks, poster sessions, and networking sessions so far at ASM Microbe 2016. In our previous two Dispatches from ASM Microbe, we’ve covered microbiomes, for which research ranges from extremely basic (Which microbes are present? How do we quantify them?) to clinic... Read More

Are Viruses Alive?

Plenty of people have weighed in on the question, 'Are Viruses Alive?' Here is my answer - different from all the others. Read More

(micro)Biochemistry

Bohr's atomic model comes to life with Kocuria rhizophila, Serratia marcescens, and Lactobaccillus casei. Read More

Changing the mindset of a pathogen-based vaccine

It’s hard to turn on the news at the moment and not hear about the latest emerging disease, Zika. The filovirus joins a cadre of infectious diseases spread by arthropod vectors – meaning the disease is passed between infected individuals via insect bites. A long list of microbes are spread this ... Read More

Tick tock -- sequencing the tick genome could help defuse the Lyme disease time bomb

The deer tick transmits Lyme disease and other diseases, which cause thousands of human and animal deaths annually. With about 10,000 new patients each year, occurrences of Lyme disease in Switzerland are amongst the highest in Europe, representing a substantial healthcare cost and threatening S... Read More

TWiV 399: Zika la femme

The latest Zika virus news from the ConTWiVstadors, including a case of female to male transmission, risk of infection at the 2016 summer Olympics, a DNA vaccine, antibody-dependent enhancement by dengue antibodies, and sites of replication in the placenta.


Hosts:  Read More

Scientists, share your Zika virus reagents!

Today I learned that a number of investigators refuse to share their samples of Zika virus with other laboratories.

There are countless stories about scientists not sharing reagents because they want to be the first to make a discovery. This behavior allows them to publish first, secure more ... Read More

Yeast fights viruses!

Humans have used Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast in baking, brewing and winemaking for millennia. New research from the University of Idaho and the University of Colorado Boulder reveals another way that yeast species can help our species: by demonstrating how viruses interact with their hosts, a... Read More

Zika virus in Brazilian non-human primates

Zika virus RNA has been detected in New World monkeys from the Northeast region of Brazil. This finding suggests that primates may serve as a reservoir host for the virus, as occurs in Africa. Read More

Phage diffusion on a bacterial lawn: not all plaques are created equal

Like us, bacteria have their own microbial attackers, in the form of bacteria-specific viruses called bacteriophage, or phage. These phage come in a variety of flavors but can be broadly categorized into virulent, which immediately begin to replicate and lyse (burst) the infected cell quickly, a... Read More

TWiV Special: DA Henderson, smallpox eradicator

Donald “D.A.” Henderson, a physician, educator, and epidemiologist who led the World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate smallpox, died at 87 years of age on Aug. 19, 2016. Vincent was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with DA Henderson in 2014 about his career, the smallpox era... Read More

THE RIDDLE OF THE R.I.D.L _ Zika virus Comics (Playlist)

In Zanzare, the new comic from Cimaza (www.cimazacomics.com/), we are plunged head-first into the global mystery of the Zika virus. We meet the mosquitoes (in Italian: zanzare) implicated in its spread; but the insects plead their innocence, saying it's all a misunderstanding. They lay their cas... Read More

E. coli, Salmonella, and Norovirus - oh my!

This upcoming Monday, Chipotle restaurants across the country will close as its employees discuss food safety and safe food handling. The restaurant was in the news throughout the last half of 2015, beginning with an outbreak of E. coli in Seattle (which was kept secret!), followed by another E.... Read More

New bat gammaherpesvirus may help understand bats' role in zoonoses

Many emerging viruses (such as SARS-CoV, Ebola virus, and the Henipavirus genus) are thought to have zoonotic reservoirs in the regional bat populations. Bats offer a threat to spreading these viruses because their flight capacity makes them readily mobile. Also, there are a whole lot of them: w... Read More

Zika virus: 5 things to know

A concise "Five things to know about.... Zika virus infection" article for physicians highlights key points about this newly emerged virus in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) Read More

Top secret, viruses with RNA genomes!

Today it is well known that viruses may contain DNA (poxvirus, mimivirus) or RNA (influenza virus, Zika virus), but for many years it was thought that genomes were only made of DNA. The surprise at finding only RNA in a virus is plainly evident in a 1953 letter from Harriett Ephrussi-Taylor to J... Read More

TWiEVO 1: When (scientific) worlds collide

Nels and Vincent launch a new podcast on evolution, This Week in Evolution (TWiEVO) and start by discussing how the field has changed through recent mergers of evolutionary and experimental biology in the post-genome era. Read More

Congenital Zika Syndrome

Data from several clinical studies in Brazil establish a strong link between infection of pregnant women with Zika virus and a variety of birth defects collectively called congenital Zika syndrome.

In the latest study conducted in Rio de Janeiro, the authors enrolled 88 pregnant women who had... Read More

TWiM #137: The battle for oxygen

Highlights of the Recent Advances in Microbial Control meeting in San Diego, and expansion of a gut pathogen by virulence factors that stimulate aerobic respiration.


Hosts: 


Vincent Racaniello, <... Read More

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