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Pictures Considered #17. The Meselson-Stahl Experiment

Described as the “Most Beautiful Experiment In Biology” the demonstration by Meselson and Stahl that DNA replicates semiconservatively is one of the major landmarks in the genesis of modern biology. And indeed it is most pleasing, both visually and cerebrally.

By semiconservative is meant tha... Read More

Paper device spots antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists in Canada have developed a paper-based device that checks if bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics. The simple system could help users in remote areas pick the most appropriate treatment for bacterial infections.

Click on 'source' to read more Read More

Methane-Munching Microorganisms Meddle with Metals

On the continental margins, where the seafloor drops hundreds of meters below the water’s surface, low temperatures and high pressure lock methane inside ice crystals. Called methane hydrates, these crystals are a potential energy source, but they are also a potential source of global warming if... Read More

Oral Bacteria and Cancer

Over a number of years, epidemiological studies established several well-defined risk factors for cancer, including age, heredity, diet, tobacco use, chronic viral infections, and inflammation. Paradoxically, the success of these studies left little room for incorporation of any new factors or c... Read More

Harvard scientists control cells following transplantation, from the inside out

Harvard stem cells scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT can now engineer cells that are more easily controlled following transplantation, potentially making cell therapies, hundreds of which are currently in clinical trials across the United States, more functional and efficient.
... Read More

Community-based HIV prevention can boost testing, help reduce new infections

Communities in Africa and Thailand that worked together on HIV-prevention efforts saw not only a rise in HIV screening but a drop in new infections, according to a new study in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Global Health.

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health's Project Accept —... Read More

Innocence by Viral Tagging - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet with approximately 1030 in the world’s oceans at any time. As such, they play a central role in global nutrient cycling. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about how viruses interact with their hosts due to the dif... Read More

Influenza A potentiates pneumococcal co-infection: New details emerge

Influenza infection can enhance the ability of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae to cause ear and throat infections, according to research published ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity.

In the study, the investigators infected mice with either influenza alone, pneumococc... Read More

Chromosome Organization the Pseudomonas Way, Part 1

(Re-)Introducing the Pseudomonads. Despite the somewhat murky provenance of their name, pseudomonads are everything but "pseudo-" in terms of their metabolic versatility: they are bacterial omnivores, heterotrophs yet far from picky. Members of the family Pseudomonadaceae (Gammaproteobacteria) a... Read More

New genomics technique could improve treatment and control of malaria

Single-cell genomics could provide new insight into the biology of malaria parasites (including their virulence and levels of drug resistance) to ultimately improve treatment and control of the disease, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.... Read More

Researchers Unlock the Genetic Code of Cancer-Causing Liver Fluke Parasite

An international team of scientists from Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia has cracked the genetic code of the liver fluke parasite, Opisthorchis viverrini, using a unique DNA analysis technique developed at A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

GIS’s DNA analysis technique ha... Read More

Pictures Considered #10. The Origin of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis

In May 1984, readers of an article by Schwartz and Cantor in the prestigious journal Cell were to stumble upon pictures of DNA agarose gels that were among the lousiest of such ever published after the method was introduced in the early 70s. Why did the editors of Cell risk their reputation? Or ... Read More

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark

Researchers at UCL have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for ... Read More

Zombie bacteria are nothing to be afraid of

Recently identified cell-cycle controls are targets for new drugs that fight infections by shutting down division.

A cell is not a soap bubble that can simply pinch in two to reproduce. The ability to faithfully copy genetic material and distribute it equally to daughter cells is fundamental ... Read More

Cationic small molecules hold great potential for preventing and treating fungal infections

Pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans can cause oral, skin, nail and genital infections. While exposure to pathogenic fungi is generally not life-threatening, it can be deadly to immunocompromised patients with AIDS or cancer. A variety of antifungal medications, such as triazoles and polyenes,... Read More

How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic ocean - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

The Amazon river is the largest river in the world. It drains the entire Amazon rainforest, sending leftover nutrients, detritus, and minerals from the South American jungle out into the tropical Atlantic ocean. This runoff forms a freshwater plume, hundreds of miles across, that profoundly affe... Read More

'Transformer' protein provides new insights into Ebola virus disease

A new study reveals that a protein of the Ebola virus can transform into three distinct shapes, each with a separate function that is critical to the virus's survival. Each shape offers a potential target for developing drugs against Ebola virus disease, a hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 9 ou... Read More

Major step forward in understanding of viruses as scientists unlock exact structure of Hep A virus

Scientists have announced that for the first time, they have determined the precise atomic structure of the Hepatitis A virus. In an unprecedented step forward, a team of scientists from Beijing and Oxford have been able to map the exact construction of Hepatitis A, down to the individual atoms.... Read More

Bacterial Hopanoids – The Lipids That Last Forever

The world of lipids does not always gets its due. Their oleaginous charm is not always appreciated, as we said here before. For example, have you heard of hopanoids? They are made by some bacteria and are an unusual kind of polycyclic lipids that resemble steroids, but with an extra ring. Just l... Read More

Terms of Biology: The Pan-Genome

A still somewhat unfamiliar term is floating around: the pan-genome. In 2005, Tettelin et al. coined the term along with genome analyses of eight Streptococcus agalactiae strains, and Merry introduced it to this blog, some time back already. Today, a keyword search in PubMed returns roughly 200 ... Read More

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