DURHAM, NC - Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans -- a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and... Read More
Hello TWiM team,
Cancer has left its 'footprint' on our evolution, according to a study which examined how the relics of ancient viruses are preserved in the genomes of 38 mammal species.
Viral relics are evidence of the ancient battles our genes have fought against infection. Occasionally the retroviruses th... Read More
The "danger zones" in Asia which are vulnerable to a deadly bird flu have been mapped by scientists.
The virus, called H7N9, has infected 433 people mostly in China and has killed 62.
The study, published in Nature Communications, showed parts of Bangladesh, India and Vietnam could easily ... Read More
Science and news cycles sometimes converge in unhandy ways. That was the case on on January 1, when word came out of Shenzen, a Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, that a 39-year-old bus driver, surnamed Chen, had died of the H5N1 (or bird flu) virus. The deeply personal tragedy for Chen and his f... Read More
Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s, HIV infection has evolved from a near-certain death sentence to a manageable, chronic disease. Still, ... Read More
Nearly 40 years ago, a young Belgian scientist travelled to a remote part of the Congolese rainforest - his task was to help find out why so many people were dying from an unknown and terrifying disease.
In September 1976, a package containing a shiny, blue thermos flask arrived at the Instit... Read More
Microbiota buffs repeat it often these days, proudly reminding the public that the microbial cells associated with humans outnumber their host cells by a ratio of ten-to-one. In his letter in the February 2014 Microbe, however, Judah L. Rosner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes a s... Read More
Entamoeba, an amoeba that includes pathogens of the intestinal tracts of a range of hosts - humans are included. They have no mitochondria and seem to have adapted secondarily to an anoxic way of life. Cytoplasm of a thick and dense consistency, and like that of pelobionts (to which we think the... Read More
Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.
Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly vir... Read More
The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people’s lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, which the drought has made warmer than... Read More
Converting plant biomass into useful products and biofuels inevitably runs up against a big problem: degrading cellulose and other cell wall polymers, which are, by design, tough nuts to crack. Plants need tough cell walls in order to stand tall and compete for sunlight, but the recalcitrance of... Read More
We know that life on earth is incredibly diverse. It can survive deep in the trenches of the ocean and in the frozen permafrost of the arctic. Surely we have much to learn from the study of life, but we also have much to learn about the virus. Even though they are not considered living things, t... Read More
Europe set out plans to boost research into the neglected area of antibiotics on Thursday by promising to accelerate approval of new drugs, while ensuring adequate prices for their makers and promoting industry-wide R&D.
Multi-drug resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, are a growing thr... Read More
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is a global initiative to identify and characterize the microorganisms present at multiple sites in the human body. An international team of researchers reports on new ways to harness the results of the HMP and discusses how changes in the microbiome might affe... Read More
Considered as an obsolete theory for many years, the transmission of acquired traits has returned to the forefront of debate thanks to the development of epigenetic research. In this context, a team of researchers has described how in Paramecia, mating types are transmitted from generation to ge... Read More