Synthetic biology hit the headlines when Craig Venter recently announced the creation of Synthia – the first organism with a computer as a parent.
JCVI-syn1.0, as the artificial microbe is officially known, will become a poster child for synthetic biology. But it was created from known geneti... Read More
This is spelunking with a twist. This is academic spelunking that is uncovering answers to questions. It is cave exploration that is helping sharpen the skills of tomorrow’s microbiologists.
Welcome to Todd Sandrin’s classroom. The associate director of the New College Division of Mathematica... Read More
While an out-of-control gusher deep in the Gulf of Mexico fouls beaches and chokes marshland habitat, another threat could be growing below the oil-slicked surface.
The nation’s worst oil spill could worsen and expand the oxygen-starved region of the Gulf labeled “the dead zone” for its inhos... Read More
Since it's 1st recorded outbreak (1976) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ebola River Valley, the Ebola virus has been known - and feared - for good reason.
Why, you may ask?
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is potentially lethal and encompasses a range of symptoms including fever, vom... Read More
Saints preserve us from this one. A highly contagious hemorrhagic fever, Marburg is less well known that it's cousin Ebola, (they're both members of the deeply troublesome Filovirus family) but no less deadly.
Scientists are reporting the first evidence that a plastic antibody -- an artificial version of the proteins produced by the body's immune system to recognize and fight infections and foreign substances -- works in the bloodstream of a living animal. The discovery, they suggest in a report in th... Read More
E. coli uses its signal recognition particle (SRP) system in membrane protein biogenesis, but there has been some question about its other possible roles. A new paper just released by mBio reveals E. coli’s SRP is also capable of regulating membrane protein synthesis. Read More
President Obama has appointed a new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, replacing his predecessor's President's Council on Bioethics. Like the previous entity and similar ones before it, the group will advise the president on a wide range of difficult, controversial scien... Read More
In fall 1976 the first recorded Ebola outbreak ravaged a small village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). The virus, named for the river valley where it was found, causes a deadly hemorrhagic fever. It spread quickly via contact with blood and contaminated needles killing... Read More
Joanne Manaster is a woman on a mission. She loves science and she wants to introduce kids to everything there is to love about science.
So this summer, her mission is to stimulate the minds of children and teens everywhere by challenging them to read non-fiction science books. In collaborati... Read More
Lapses in procedures aimed at fighting infections are common in ambulatory surgical centers, a study shows. The lapses include safe hygiene methods and improper handling of medications and equipment.
The study by the CDC is published in the June 9 issue of The Journal of the American Medical ... Read More
In the event of an infection, the immune system releases messenger substances. These molecules can either activate immune cells to defeat invading pathogens, or inhibit them to prevent an excessive immune reaction. For this, the immune system has to decide very quickly what mixture of activating... Read More
The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Responsible for more deaths during World War I than all the bombs, bullets, poison gases, & artillery shells used, it killed more than 500,000 people in the United States, and up to 50 million worldwide.
The possible so... Read More
Smallpox is a serious, highly contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious viral disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is a smallpox vaccination. Read More
"Drug firms 'encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat'," screamed Britain's Daily Mail newspaper on June 4. "2 European reports criticize WHO's H1N1 pandemic guidelines as tainted," headlined The Washington Post the next day. To judge from media coverage last week, a major sc... Read More
This image depicts the quantitative difference in hemolytic reactivity seen in a trypticase soy agar culture plate containing 5% sheep’s blood growing group-D Streptococci (left wedge), group-B Streptococci (middle wedge), and group-A Streptococci (right wedge) bacteria. This plate was grown u... Read More
How safe is the food we get from restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service providers? A new study from North Carolina State University -- the first study to place video cameras in commercial kitchens to see how precisely food handlers followed food-safety guidelines -- discovered that risky... Read More
Purdue University scientists have improved a strain of yeast that can produce more biofuel from cellulosic plant material by fermenting all five types of the plant's sugars.
Nathan Mosier, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Miroslav Sedlak, a research assistant... Read More
Any gardener has seen it happen. One plant in the backyard thrives, while its neighbor of the same species is plagued with infection. Why?
One reason may be genetic. Researchers have discovered that more resistant mouse ear cress plants have a variant of a gene known as ACD6. Plants with thi... Read More