Much as an anthropologist can study populations of people to learn about their physical attributes, their environs and social structures, some marine microbiologists read the genome of microbes to glean information about the microbes themselves, their environments and lifestyles.
Using a rela... Read More
British and U.S. researchers are developing a new virtually risk-free polio vaccine that "tricks" the body into triggering its immune system to counteract the polio virus, according to British media reports this week.
Unlike other polio vaccines, this replica, or hoax vaccine, bypasses the ne... Read More
The arsenic bacteria story continued to roll on over the last week, but at a slower pace. Many of the big issues have already been covered at length, including the paper itself, the media hype, the implications for journalism, peer review, and so on (see my post-mortem from last week for a timel... Read More
This episode: Bacteria grow on quartz stones in the driest hot place on Earth!
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at UC Santa Barbara has produced a groundbreaking study of how nanoparticles are able to biomagnify in a simple microbial food chain.
"This was a simple scientific curiosity," said Patricia Holden, professor in UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Scien... Read More
Three weeks ago, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, 33, a former performance oboist with a doctorate in oceanography and a NASA fellowship in astrobiology, published a paper online in Science about bacteria that can use arsenic instead of phosphorus in DNA and other biomolecules. Four days before the publicati... Read More
Joining a health club can make it easier and more fun to exercise. But gyms can also present safety problems. Bacteria in poorly maintained pools can spread disease. Antibiotic-resistant staph infections can be picked up in crowded locker rooms and from heavily used exercise equipment. You can b... Read More
New research by scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences reveals that the immune system has an effective backup plan to protect the body from infection when the "master regulator" of the body's innate immun... Read More
Ahh the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus - more commonly known as RSV. The last 2 times we' ve met it's been sick infants, ambulance calls, & in 1 case a hospital admit. In the United States, 60% of infants are infected during their first RSV season, and nearly all children will have been ... Read More
A new study has cast further doubt on the idea that a virus called XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome.
US scientists linked the condition, also known as ME, to a mouse-like virus in 2009 after finding it in blood samples.
Now, UK experts say the discovery was a "false positive", caused b... Read More
A couple of months ago, I attended a talk given by Robert Austin from the Princeton University Physics department. I debated with myself for quite a while about whether to report on this talk for two reasons: the results are largely unpublished, for reasons that will become clear; and, frankly, ... Read More
This Gram-stained specimen reveals N. gonorrhoeae intracellular diplococci, leading to a positive diagnosis of gonorrhea.
The genus Neisseria consists of aerobic, non-spore-forming Gram-negative coccobacilli, which inhabit the mucous membranes of humans. These microbes require a moist environ... Read More
The Obama administration issued long-awaited, long-delayed guidelines on Friday to insulate government scientific research from political meddling and to base policy decisions on solid data.
Under the guidelines, government scientists are in general free to speak to journalists and the publi... Read More
About 580 million years ago, life on Earth began a rapid period of change called the Cambrian Explosion, a period defined by the birth of new life forms over many millions of years that ultimately helped bring about the modern diversity of animals. Fossils help palaeontologists chronicle the evo... Read More
It should be no surprise that swine flu is back. In recent days there has been a spate of headlines speaking of "shocked" doctors, alarmed by the return of "deadly" swine flu. What should we make of this, and should we be worried?
First off, the H1N1 virus, which sparked a pandemic last year,... Read More
Scientists at the Duke Cancer Institute have decoded secrets of a very common virus that can cause cancer.
About 90 percent of people are infected at some time in their lives with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), usually with no ill effects.
But individuals with compromised immune systems, such a... Read More