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High hopes

Care must be taken not to raise unrealistic expectations for RTS,S malaria vaccine. Vaccines have been an unparalleled public-health success: they have eradicated smallpox and driven polio to near extinction, and routine childhood immunization saves millions of children a year from death from di... Read More

Tracking viral DNA in the cell

Cell biologists and chemists from the University of Zurich reveal how viral DNA traffics in human cells. They have developed a new method to generate virus particles containing labeled viral DNA genomes. This allowed them to visualize, for the first time, single viral genomes in the cytoplasm an... Read More

Prions May Develop Drug Resistance: The Implications for Mad Cow, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capab... Read More

Microbiome meets big social science: What’s the potential?

Over the last decade or so, biologists have mustered an ever-growing appreciation for the essential role of microbial communities in a diversity of environments.

“We’re recognizing that the biosphere is run by microbes at every level,” notes UW-Madison Professor of Medical Microbiology and Im... Read More

Virus may be causing deadly coral 'white plague' epidemic in Caribbean

The Caribbean Sea is battling an epidemic — a nasty plague that spreads and kills quickly. Unlike the historical Black Plague, which killed millions of people in the Middle Ages, this so-called white plague is devastating populations of marine corals.

Scientists long believed the scourge, whi... Read More

Glowing Antibiotics Reveal Bacterial Infections

Despite surgeons’ best efforts, bacteria often manage to sneak onto medical implants such as bone screws, where they can cause severe infections. Research published today in Nature Communications suggests that using fluorescent antibiotics could reveal such infections before they become too seve... Read More

Beyond antibiotics: “PPMOs” offer new approach to bacterial infection

Researchers at Oregon State University and other institutions today announced the successful use of a new type of antibacterial agent called a PPMO, which appears to function as well or better than an antibiotic, but may be more precise and also solve problems with antibiotic resistance.

In a... Read More

Giving Health Workers Their Own Hand Gel Reduces Operating Room Contamination Significantly

Simple remedies -- from keeping the antibacterial gel dispenser clean to giving health care workers their own hand sanitizer -- can help keep patients safe by decreasing contamination in operating and recovery rooms, suggest two studies presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 annual meeting.

Ke... Read More

TWiP 61: Some creep crept into the crypt and crapped



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson review... Read More

TWiP 61 letters


Ian writes:


Dear TWiPers,


I just finished listening to the superb Twip #56 and I am thrilled because I am a huge fish nerd. In fact I spent much of my youth catching and chasing fish on the same lovely New Jersey barrier island mentioned in that episode. ... Read More

Pushing and shoving: A cost factor in protein synthesis

When cells grow and proliferate, they need to produce large amounts of protein. All this protein is made by ribosomes, therefore rapid growth requires many ribosomes. Because ribosomes are expensive machines for the cell, the cell needs to use them efficiently. In a new study, published in PNAS,... Read More

Discovery of complex symbiotic system comprising the metabolic pathways of mealybugs

Researchers from AIST, in collaboration with the University of Montana (USA), the Open University of Japan, and others, have discovered that two types of bacteria with extremely reduced genomes endocellularly reside in a nested manner within the symbiotic organ of mealybugs that are known as agr... Read More

Why Is Cheating In Science Research On The Rise?

The vast majority of researchers in the science field are honest and conscientious. But that's not the case for all of them, and a federal agency that tracks misconduct and cheating in the field is seeing increases.

Click "source" to read more and listen to podcast. Read More

Device speeds concentration step in food-pathogen detection

Researchers have developed a system that concentrates foodborne salmonella and other pathogens faster than conventional methods by using hollow thread-like fibers that filter out the cells, representing a potential new tool for speedier detection.

The machine, called a continuous cell concent... Read More

The Government's Shut Down, the Flu Virus Isn't

Two weeks into the government shutdown, flu season is about to ramp up. And without full-scale infectious-disease surveillance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts said, health consequences for the nation could range from unsettling to disastrous.

Normally, the CDC monit... Read More

Lather Up for Global Handwashing Day

Every day of the year, it seems, is a special day devoted to some aspect of our lives. The most obvious are Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter and of course, Canada Day. But there are a number of lesser known days that mark a special part of our human existence. In October alone, there are days ... Read More

Pandoravirus: Missing Link Discovered Between Viruses and Cells

With the discovery of Mimivirus ten years ago and, more recently, Megavirus chilensis[1], researchers thought they had reached the farthest corners of the viral world in terms of size and genetic complexity. With a diameter in the region of a micrometer and a genome incorporating more than 1,100... Read More

Clashes over China's prized caterpillar fungus

Looking like a small brown twig on the end of a crinkled yellow worm, the caterpillar fungus is for its believers a lifesaver, a cure for cancer and a potent aphrodisiac sometimes known as "Himalayan Viagra".

In a dirty, dimly-lit room in a backstreet of one of China's poorest rural towns, a ... Read More

Vesiculation: Another Bacterial Skill

Microbiology, we will agree, is a vast subject where many important aspects are likely to evade one’s sight. Here’s an example—the formation of vesicles from the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. This phenomenon, known as vesiculation, is widespread and noteworthy for enhancing our under... Read More

A bacterium reveals the crucible of its metallurgical activity

An international consortium led by CEA researchers in collaboration with the CNRS, has succeeded in characterizing the structure and function of a protein involved in the production of magnetite nanomagnets in magnetotactic bacteria. This protein, MamP, is crucial to the metallurgical activity o... Read More

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