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The Way You’re Born Can Mess With the Microbes You Need to Survive

Throughout the animal kingdom, mothers transfer microbes to their young while giving birth. Different species of tadpoles acquire specific skin bacteria from mother frogs even though they all live in the same pond with the same bacterial background. Emerging chicken eggs get inoculated with micr... Read More

A Snippet: Antibiotics In The Nursery

You have heard of the leaf-cutting ants1 that meticulously cultivate "their" fungi2 which provide them with nutrients, and that, in addition, host actinobacteria which prevent bacterial and fungal infections of their fungi as well as their own infection by an entomopathogenic fungus3 Metarhizium... Read More

Study of gut microbes, antibiotics offers clues to improving immunity in premature babies

Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs -— germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fight bacterial infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses. A new animal study by neonatology researchers at The Children's Hospital of P... Read More

New research reveals how bacteria construct tiny flagella ‘nanomachines’ outside the cell

Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More

Soil bacterium causes biofuel breakdown

Biofuels made from plant materials—also known as lignocellulosic biofuels—have promise as a source of sustainable alternative fuels thanks to soil bacterium known as Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1. SCF1 degrades lignin and decomposes plant cell walls, allowing access to the cellulose sugars that... Read More

Staph Germs Hide Out In The Hidden Recesses Of Your Nose

Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus. But it doesn't always work.

That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far fro... Read More

Cordyceps: attack of the killer fungi

The video shows an ant that is infected with a fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which has both infiltrated and commandeered its body. While it devours the ant alive, it also sends its zombified host scurrying up a plant stem. The ant walks along the underside of a leaf and vigorously l... Read More

Bacterial Gut Biome May Guide Colon Cancer Progression

Colorectal cancer develops in what is probably the most complex environment in the human body, a place where human cells cohabitate with a colony of approximately 10 trillion bacteria, most of which are unknown. At the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego, re... Read More

New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

The most detailed analysis to date of the spread of the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as ‘swine flu’, has found that short-range travel was likely the primary driver for the 2009 pandemic in the United States, in contrast with popularly accepted views on the way diseases s... Read More

Researchers open door to new HIV therapy

BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... Read More

E. coli Keeps Its Powder Dry

Whether inhabiting soil, fresh water, or marine ecosystems, bacteria are constantly facing the threat of numerous and effective predators such as protists, nematodes, or phages. To defend against such predation, bacteria have evolved a number of strategies, including getting larger in size, movi... Read More

Warmer temperatures push malaria to higher elevations

Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year. University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues are reporting the first har... Read More

WHO warns against 'post-antibiotic' era

The 'post-antibiotic' era is near, according to a report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents is a global problem, and a surveillance system should be established to monitor it, the group says. There is ... Read More

What we are not afraid to say about Ebola virus

In a recent New York Times OpEd entitled What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola, Michaeal Osterholm wonders whether Ebola virus could go airborne:

You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one... Read More

Bacteria swim with bodies and flagella

Using a new technique to track the swimming motion of a single bacterium, researchers have discovered that the movement of the bacterium’s body — not just thrust from the flagellum — allow movement through fluids. The finding could shed new light on the evolution of cell body shape.

Click "so... Read More

Self-Assembly For Me

I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificen... Read More

Fluoribacter bozemanae expressing blue-white fluorescence under long-wave UV light.

Fluoribacter bozemanae expressing blue-white fluorescence under long-wave UV light. If you look carefully one of the steaks does not fluoresce on the right hand side of the plate. The dark colony is actually Legionella pneumophila. Read More

Recalling the Good in the Good Old Days

In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More

MDR-TB: A Global Threat

In Pakistan prevalence and drug resistance of TB is on the rise. Late diagnosis and lack of resources are making the situation worse. In such a scenario molecular techniques such as PCR and hybridization would help in early diagnosis of TB and MDR TB leading to commencement of treatment at the r... Read More

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

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