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A microbiology video game is being made, and needs your help on kickstarter

Bacillus is a video game named after the organism the developer studied in college. It's very different from other video games in that it features an accurate model for evolution. So accurate, every bacteria in the game has it's own genome (represented by A's T's C's and G's of course). But the ... Read More

Moffitt Cancer Center Researchers Discover How Cancer Cells “Hijack” a Mechanism to Grow

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of South Florida have discovered a mechanism that explains how some cancer cells “hijack” a biological process to potentially activate cell growth and the survival of cancer gene expression.

Their study appeared in a recen... Read More

Fed fiber, killer cells may ward off cancer

Fiber supplements may help the body’s own killer cells fight bacterial infection and reduce inflammation, greatly decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

Prebiotics are fiber supplements that serve as food for the trillions of tiny bacteria living in the gut. When taken, they can stimulate the g... Read More

CDC reports two more novel flu infections

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed two more novel flu infections, one an H3N2 variant that has been identified in 11 other patients this year and one an H1N1 variant that has never been reported in humans before.

The CDC described the latest novel H3N2 cas... Read More

TWiV 165: The email zone



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier Read More

Microbes Go Rafting on Floating Volcanic Rocks

Volcanoes bring death and destruction, but out of the ashes life soon finds fertile ground. A unique experiment is sifting through floating debris from an ongoing volcanic event to see how microbes move in. The results may help in assessing a recent hypothesis that the first life forms may have ... Read More

A viral mashup in snakes

If you know anything about snakes you might be familiar with snake inclusion body disease, or IBD. This transmissible and fatal disease affects snakes of a variety of species but has been best studied in boas. The name comes from the presence of large masses (inclusions) in the cytoplasm of cell... Read More

India polio-free for one year

A year has passed since the last reported case of poliomyelitis in India, which occurred on 13 January 2011 in a two year old girl in Howrah, West Bengal. Read More

A confocal micrograph of an intestinal biopsy from a child infected with shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

Shiga toxin is an extremely potent toxin that is produced when the bacterium contains a bacteriophage carrying the toxin gene. It is closely linked with Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome and acute renal failure in children. After ingestion via contaminated food or water the E. coli bacteria colonize t... Read More

Radio Mycelium Tutorial (fungal hacking workshop in Brussles)

Radio Mycelium proposes the construction of a series of experimental situations examining a new networked imaginary, the single organism of the fungal mycelium, in relation to pathogenic, electromagnetic communications. Participants will learn how to construct simple measurement devices, and cul... Read More

Some Like It Very Hot

Russian scientists have now poured 60 tonnes of freon and kerosene down the four-kilometre bore hole that plunges through the ice above Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This will stop the hole freezing up during the long Antarctic winter. When summer comes, the Russian team will return to drill the la... Read More

Fungi And Bacteria Help Each Other Stay Mobile

Bacteria and fungi are remarkably mobile. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that the two organisms enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship to aid them in that movement - and their survival.

Fungal spores can attach themselves to bacteria, "hitching a ride" wherever the ... Read More

Friendly Fungi: Elucidating the fungal biosynthesis of stipitatic acid

In a tale worthy of Sherlock Holmes, scientists in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, UK have solved a biochemical mystery that had previously proven elusive for 70 years: How the fungus Talaromyces stipitatus produces stipitatic acid (6), which is a tropolone, one of an atypi... Read More

TWiM 21 Letters


Casey writes:

Dear TWiM'ers,

Thank you for taking the time to produce these podcasts free of charge.  I hope this style of science podcasti... Read More

Bacteria that could pass as X-men: part 2

'Second part of my thinly veiled excuse to research X-men and call it work. The first post can be found here. This is only meant to be a two-parter but I’ll see how I feel on Monday, and whether I can find any more X-men that are as amazing as bacteria.'

4) Multiple Man

Multiple Man’s powe... Read More

100 trillion good bacteria call human body home

In the search for new life, scientists have studied the depths of the ocean and the lips of steaming volcanoes. They've looked on Mars and the moons of Jupiter, and even planets beyond this solar system.

Dr. David Relman went searching inside his own mouth. On a routine dental visit in 1998, ... Read More

TWiV 163 Letters

Ronnie writes:


Hello Professor Vincent,


First of all, thank you for your wonderful podcasts! I'm a CFS sufferer and also a student Applied Science so I'm interested in many of the topics discussed for those two reasons and always learning new things.


I... Read More

TWiV 159 Letters

Jenny writes:


Hi Vince and the rest of the TWIV-cast!


You might have come across this news already, but it would be interesting to hear the TWIV gang's take on this study done by Fouchier's group from the Netherlands.


Read More

Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of th... Read More

Small Things Considered: That Scary Restroom Microbiota

Newspapers and other media are reporting with regular frequency that restrooms, ATM machine pads, money bills, and other sites carry many different microbes upon their surfaces including potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Headlines call attention to such scary-sounding news and alarm t... Read More

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