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Who cheats and who eats? An evolutionary conundrum.

Say what you will about our other vices, human beings did not invent cheating. Microbes have been doing it for billions of years. You see, for microbes, cheating can sometimes be an evolutionary advantage. And this can cause it to get out of hand really quickly.

Click source link above to rea... Read More

Microscopic Organism Plays a Big Role in Ocean Carbon Cycling, Scripps Scientists Discover

It’s broadly understood that the world’s oceans play a crucial role in the global-scale cycling and exchange of carbon between Earth’s ecosystems and atmosphere. Now scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have taken a leap forward in understanding the microscopic under... Read More

Tracking potato famine pathogen to its home may aid $6 billion global fight

The cause of potato late blight and the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s has been tracked to a pretty, alpine valley in central Mexico, which is ringed by mountains and now known to be the ancestral home of one of the most costly and deadly plant diseases in human history.

Research published t... Read More

An immune system for Algernon?

I haven't read it (yet) but heard Daniel Keyes' 1960 short story/1966 novel is a sci-fi masterpiece.

And it's the first place my mind went upon reading about this fascinating breakthrough by researchers at Yale. Read More

Model Virus Structure Shows Why There's No Cure for the Common Cold

Rhinovirus C is believed to be responsible for up to half of all childhood colds, and is a serious complicating factor for respiratory conditions such as asthma. Together with rhinoviruses A and B, the recently discovered virus is responsible for millions of illnesses yearly at an estimated annu... Read More

ROCKS AND THEIR MICROBES: A CO-EVOLUTIONARY PARTNERSHIP

Miles beneath our feet, Earth’s rocky crust may seem a cold, dead place. On closer inspection it’s anything but.

Microbes have been making a home on and in rocks since…well, since the beginnings of life, some 3.5 billion years ago. The traditional view of rock-dwelling microbes is one of spar... Read More

Fixing 'Misfolded' Proteins for New Drug Treatments (NPR Podcast)

Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers were able to fix "misfolded" proteins and restore their function in mice. Lead researcher Michael Conn discusses how to mend an incorrectly folded protein and what this may mean for developing future therapies for a va... Read More

My Global Video Challenge

MY GLOBAL VIDEO CHALLENGE (HOW MY SCIENCE AFFECTS MY COMMUNITY.)
Sometimes I wonder why diseases like typhoid fever and malaria lingers in West Africa and antibiotic as well as anti-malaria usage rises to resistant levels, until I met this community during one of my outreach trips. It was unima... Read More

Gut Microbes Respond within Days to Major Diet Changes

Microbiologists have known for some time that different diets produce different gut flora, but new research indicates that the changes take hold with startling quickness. Bacterial populations shift measurably in the first few days following a big shift in what we eat, according to a recent stud... Read More

2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award Laureate

The 2014 Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award has been given to Dan Granoff, M.D., Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, California. This prestigious award is given in memory of Maurice Hilleman, who helped save many lives by developing vaccines. “Granoff is greatly deserving of this award,” s... Read More

TWiM #83: Illuminating tuberculosis and cryptococcosis

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Evolution of whooping cough bacterium could reduce vaccine effectiveness

The bacterium that causes whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has changed – most likely in response to the vaccine used to prevent the disease – with a possible reduced effectiveness of the vaccine as a result, a new study shows.

A UNSW-led team of researchers analysed strains of Bordetella... Read More

Cause of salamander die-off found: Skin-eating fungus

A newly discovered fungus that feasts on the skin of amphibians is threatening to decimate a species of salamander in the Netherlands, according to new research.

Fire salamanders are one of the most recognizable salamander species in Europe, and are characterized by their distinct yellow- and... Read More

Transforming ARV treatment

Professor Yasien Sayed, research leader of the HIV Proteins Research Thrust, Protein Structure-Function Research Unit in the School of Molecular and Cell Biology, has led his group to international acclaim by solving the three-dimensional X-ray crystal structure of the South African HIV-1 subtyp... Read More

Virology question of the week

On the science show This Week in Virology we receive many questions and comments, which are read every week. I also get many questions here on virology blog, which I tend to answer by email. However I think that everyone could benefit from these questions, so I’ve decided to post one here each w... Read More

Ending the perfect storm: Protein key to beating flu pandemics

A protein called SOCS4 has been shown to act as a handbrake on the immune system's runaway reaction to flu infection, providing a possible means of minimizing the impact of flu pandemics. Scientists have found that without SOCS4 the immune response to influenza infection is slowed and there is a... Read More

Researchers Explore Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccination Cost-Effectiveness

A vaccine matched to a newly emerged pandemic influenza virus would require a production time of at least 6 months with current proven techniques, and so could only be used reactively after the peak of the pandemic. A pre-pandemic vaccine, although probably having lower efficacy, could be produc... Read More

New UGA research engineers microbes for the direct conversion of biomass to fuel

The promise of affordable transportation fuels from biomass—a sustainable, carbon neutral route to American energy independence—has been left perpetually on hold by the economics of the conversion process. New research from the University of Georgia has overcome this hurdle allowing the direct c... Read More

Baker's Yeast Gets a Genetic Makeover

The humble baker's yeast has been enlisted to serve the needs of humanity, responsible for beer, wine and bread, among other staples. A domesticated servant for at least millennia, the microscopic fungus has now had one of its chromosomes swapped out by a host of undergraduate students in favor ... Read More

Malaria: Blood cells behaving badly

New insight into how malaria parasites perturb flow, turning infected cells into sticky capillary cloggers, may lead to new and better treatments. All the billions of flat, biconcave disks in our body known as red blood cells (or erythrocytes) make three basic, tumbling-treadmill-type motions wh... Read More

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