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ROCKS AND THEIR MICROBES: A CO-EVOLUTIONARY PARTNERSHIP

Miles beneath our feet, Earth’s rocky crust may seem a cold, dead place. On closer inspection it’s anything but.

Microbes have been making a home on and in rocks since…well, since the beginnings of life, some 3.5 billion years ago. The traditional view of rock-dwelling microbes is one of spar... Read More

'Sterile' Urine May Be a Myth

Many people have heard that human urine is devoid of germs, but a new study seems to question that idea.

"Doctors have been trained to believe that urine is germ-free," Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "These ... Read More

New life form discovered at MSU, named after Bully

Some Mississippi State University students have discovered – and named – a new life form, a previously unknown organism discovered on campus in a mud puddle last September.

The newly classified organism – Ptolemeba bulliensis, a unicellular microscopic protest – was scooped from a courtyard b... Read More

Malnutrition: Starving Children Lack Crucial Gut Bacteria

When children are starving, the bacteria that live in their intestines may determine whether they can be saved, scientists working in Bangladesh are reporting. And they say it may become imperative to find a way to give children bacteria as well as food.

The study, done by researchers from Wa... Read More

Wood-aged cheese: How science slices the debate over bacteria

So what's the big stink over wood-aged cheese anyway? Is it deadly or just delicious?

Artisanal cheese-makers raised a fuss recently when an FDA official suggested that wooden cheese shelves posed a public health risk because they were not "adequately cleanable," and could therefore harbor d... Read More

TWiV 289: Vinny and the capsids

Vinny and the capsids answer listener questions about the definition of life, state vaccination laws, the basic science funding problem, viral ecology, inactivation of viruses by pressure, and much more.


Hosts:  Read More

Bacteria could restore uranium mining aquifers

Wyoming’s resurgent uranium industry could get a further boost from University of Wyoming scientists, whose research on post-mining environmental restoration is yielding promising results.

Research in UW laboratories has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a more effecti... Read More

How Probiotics Will Improve Your Skin

The more time I spend in the beauty industry, the more I believe that clear, good skin is more of an art than a science. Sure, it's science-based, but there's an endless list of the things that are bad (sun, dairy, gluten, oils) and only a few things that are good (vitamin D; dairy, unless you a... Read More

Origin of segmented RNA virus genomes

Segmented genomes abound in the RNA virus world. They are found in virus particles from different families, and can be double stranded (Reoviridae) or single stranded of (+) (Closteroviridae) or (-) (Orthomyxoviridae) polarity. Our recent discussion of the advantages of a segmented viral genome,... Read More

Mosquito-borne virus chikungunya worries CDC

A debilitating, mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya has made its way to North Carolina, health officials say. It's the state's first reported case of the virus.
The patient was likely infected in the Caribbean, according to the Forsyth County Department of Public Health. Chikungunya is prim... Read More

Terms of Biology: The Pan-Genome

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

Bacteria Show Promise in Restoring Aquifers Used in Uranium Mining

Wyoming’s resurgent uranium industry could get a further boost from University of Wyoming scientists, whose research on post-mining environmental restoration is yielding extremely promising results.

Research in UW laboratories has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a mo... Read More

Bacteria found in squid raises concern about spread of antibiotic resistance, study finds

Researchers in Canada have discovered one of the deadliest kinds of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for the first time in a food product — raw squid — widening the potential exposure for consumers, according to a report published Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

... Read More

TWiP 73: I'm nibbling my way back to you

Vincent and Dickson discuss how nibbling of human cells by Entamoeba histolytica, a process called amoebic trogocytosis, contributes to cell killing and tissue invasion.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

TWiP 73 letters

Robin writes:


Liquids


Liquids are capable of forming a gas-liquid interface: maintenance of the surface requires adequate pressure in the gas. Adequate in this instance means a gas pressure greater than the vaporisation pressure in the liquid. The gas pressure... Read More

A Key Step Toward a Safer Strep Vaccine

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have identified the genes encoding a molecule that famously defines Group A Streptococcus (strep), a pathogenic bacterial species responsible for more than 700 million infection... Read More

Gum Disease Bacteria Selectively Disarm Immune System, Penn Study Finds

The human body is comprised of roughly 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells. In healthy people, these bacteria are typically harmless and often helpful, keeping disease-causing microbes at bay. But, when disturbances knock these bacterial populations out of balance, illnesses can arise... Read More

TB Dogma Upended: Even Uninfected Cells Trigger Immune Defenses

Experimenting with mice, infectious disease experts at NYU Langone Medical Center have found that immune system cells uninfected with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis trigger immune system T cells to fight the disease. The findings upend the long-held scientific belief that only cells, kno... Read More

Genes found in nature yield 1918-like virus with pandemic potential

An international team of researchers has shown that circulating avian influenza viruses contain all the genetic ingredients necessary to underpin the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 influenza virus.

Searching public databases, the researchers, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the U... Read More

TWiM #80: Hurling fleas and designer chromosomes

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloElio Schaechter, and Michele Swanson Read More

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