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Scientists Turn Dr. Frankenstein, Re-Write Bacteria’s Entire Genome

It may sound like science fiction, but researchers at Yale and Harvard have taken the first steps towards a Dr. Frankenstein-type reality, by fundamentally changing the genetic code of an organism.

The scientists were able to rewrite the genetic alphabet of the common bacteria E.coli, creatin... Read More

'Citrus greening' bacteria devastating world's orange crop

A glass of orange juice in the morning is something many of us take for granted. But that might soon change thanks to a citrus disease affecting every major orange-growing region in the world.

The world's orange crop is being threatened by "citrus greening," a bacterial infection carried by a... Read More

How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic ocean - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

The Amazon river is the largest river in the world. It drains the entire Amazon rainforest, sending leftover nutrients, detritus, and minerals from the South American jungle out into the tropical Atlantic ocean. This runoff forms a freshwater plume, hundreds of miles across, that profoundly affe... Read More

Paper device spots antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists in Canada have developed a paper-based device that checks if bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics. The simple system could help users in remote areas pick the most appropriate treatment for bacterial infections.

Click on 'source' to read more 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

Single dose of century-old drug approved for sleeping sickness reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neu... Read More

Small-scale badger culls may boost spread of cattle TB

Scientists say that culling a small number of badgers risks increasing the spread of TB infection to cattle.

The research suggests that some farmers who have allegedly killed badgers on their property could be making things worse for themselves and neighbours.

The findings also indicate th... Read More

Tiny plastic dwellers have big impact on our oceans

Microscopic creatures that live on tiny ocean plastics greatly affect the fate and ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues have published an article in the international journ... Read More

Researchers create three-dimensional model of bacterium

Certain bacteria can build such complex membrane structures that, in terms of complexity and dynamics, look like eukaryotes, i.e., organisms with a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. Scientists from Heidelberg University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) made this discovery empl... Read More

Much breast milk bought online is contaminated, analysis shows

Desperate for breast milk, some new mothers who can't nurse their babies are turning to online sources, typically strangers with ample supplies. But a new study finds that human milk bought and sold on the Internet may be contaminated — and dangerous.

Nearly 75 percent of breast milk bought t... Read More

Retrospective, June 2014 - Small Things Considered

As is our custom at this time of year, we go over the material that has appeared in this blog over the last six months. Seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s the result of the work of quite a number of dedicated people, all of whom deserve our gratitude.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Potential Role of Gut Microbes in Autism

Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete... Read More

Caribbean health experts warn of a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus

Caribbean health experts warned last week that they “cannot stop” a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus that has infected thousands and is associated with six deaths in the region.

The alert came as the Dominican Republic’s health ministry became the 15th Caribbean nation to confirm cases ... Read More

Oman says first MERS-coronavirus sufferer dies in hospital

Oman's first MERS coronavirus patient died in hospital on Sunday from lung failure, state news agency ONA said.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in Qatar, France,... Read More

ICAAC 2013 - This Week in Virology with Vincent Racaniello

 


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Evolution depends on rare chance events, 'molecular time travel' experiments show

Chance events may profoundly shape history. What if Franz Ferdinand's driver had not taken a wrong turn, bringing the Duke face to face with his assassin? Would World War I still have been fought? Would Hitler have risen to power decades later?

Historians can only speculate on what might have... Read More

Methane-Munching Microorganisms Meddle with Metals

On the continental margins, where the seafloor drops hundreds of meters below the water’s surface, low temperatures and high pressure lock methane inside ice crystals. Called methane hydrates, these crystals are a potential energy source, but they are also a potential source of global warming if... Read More

ICAAC 2013 - Human Interferon Kills Resistant H7N9 Influenza


During the April 2013 avian influenza A (H7N9) outbreak, more than 130 human infections with H7N9 were reported. Most patients had ... Read More

UC Davis Researchers Find How Viral Infection Disrupts Neural Development in Offspring, Increasing Risk of Autism

Activating a mother’s immune system during her pregnancy disrupts the development of neural cells in the brain of her offspring and damages the cells' ability to transmit signals and communicate with one another, researchers with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Department of Neurology h... Read More

Laser tool speeds up detection of Salmonella in food products

Purdue University researchers have developed a laser sensor that can identify Salmonella bacteria grown from food samples about three times faster than conventional detection methods.

Known as BARDOT (pronounced bar-DOH'), the machine scans bacteria colonies and generates a distinct black and... Read More

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