On the first day of Micro class instructors have students do an environmental swab. This sample was subcultured from a student who did the bottom of their shoe. The organism, possible Bacillus sp., was tough to scrap off the agar so subculture was done by taking a small chunk of agar containi... Read More
Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... Read More
Oregon has 171 breweries operating out of 70 different cities, and Portland boasts more breweries per capita than any other city in the country. Two Oregon brew experts—Leon Fyfe, a microbiologist with the Craft Brew Alliance, and Ben Tilley, owner of Agrarian Ales—pour over the science of craft... Read More
You probably remember foot and mouth disease (FMD) from the 2001 outbreak in the UK that prompted the culling of over 10 million sheep and cattle, but the disease affects livestock all over the world. It's a particular problem in Africa, where wildlife that harbor the picornavirus that causes FM... Read More
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.
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Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.
That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.
Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a genera... Read More
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
Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.
In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a central nervous system disease that often leads to paralysis and vision problems, affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide and has no cure. Though no one knows what triggers MS, researchers have long suspected that a combination of genetic and environmental f... Read More
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.
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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
There is no approved medicine to treat polyomaviruses, which afflict people with weakened immune systems, but scientists have found that a chemical compound called Retro-2 is able to reduce significantly the infectivity and spread of the viruses in lab cell cultures. Now they are working to impr... Read More
Caribbean health experts warned last week that they “cannot stop” a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus that has infected thousands and is associated with six deaths in the region.
The alert came as the Dominican Republic’s health ministry became the 15th Caribbean nation to confirm cases ... Read More
A glass of orange juice in the morning is something many of us take for granted. But that might soon change thanks to a citrus disease affecting every major orange-growing region in the world.
The world's orange crop is being threatened by "citrus greening," a bacterial infection carried by a... Read More
Bacteria are for the most part gregarious organisms, living predominantly in dense communities consisting of multiple strains. In fact, the majority of infectious bacteria occur as multi-layered structures called biofilms, many of which are composed of multiple types of bacteria. As one can imag... Read More
Antibiotic exposure during a critical window of early development disrupts the bacterial landscape of the gut, home to trillions of diverse microbes, and permanently reprograms the body’s metabolism, setting up a predisposition to obesity, according to a new study. Moreover, the research shows t... Read More