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Virology question of the week: why a segmented viral genome?

This week’s virology question comes from Eric, who writes:

I’m working on an MPH and in one of my classes we are currently studying the influenza virus. I’d forgotten that the genome is in 8 separate parts. Curious, I’ve been searching but can’t find any information as to why that is?

What... Read More

Who cheats and who eats? An evolutionary conundrum.

Say what you will about our other vices, human beings did not invent cheating. Microbes have been doing it for billions of years. You see, for microbes, cheating can sometimes be an evolutionary advantage. And this can cause it to get out of hand really quickly.

Click source link above to rea... Read More

Antibiotics improve growth in children

Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers at McGill University who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the youn... Read More

Study demonstrates that antibacterial soaps can reduce risk of foodborne illness

Newly published research shows that the use of antibacterial soaps can reduce the spread of harmful bacteria - that often leads to foodborne illness - more effectively than using non-antibacterial soaps. The research, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Food Protection, used new laboratory... Read More

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs. But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life. Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But ca... Read More

Stanford biologists help solve fungi mysteries

A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Pine forests are chock full of wild animals and plant life, but there's an invisible machine... Read More

American homes harbor antibiotic-resistant "superbug" MRSA

An antibiotic-resistant "superbug," long a problem in health-care settings, is now taking up residence in people's homes, a new U.S. study finds. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly referred to as MRSA, was once mainly confined to places like hospitals and nursing homes, where ... Read More

Microbiology and Peep Science at Easter?

Easter in the United States has become a holiday pretty much about high fructose corn syrup. To that end, here is a description of "Peep Science," using those sugary creatures that inhabit this time of year. In addition is a video that links "Peep Science" and microbiology! Read More

Salmonella Infections Fall, But Foodborne Illness Rates Unchanged

Infection from salmonella bacteria, the most common form of food poisoning in the U.S., declined last year but the overall rate of foodborne illness is holding stubbornly steady despite new measures intended to curb it, according to data released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Contr... Read More

Who's Protecting Whom From Deadly Toxin?

Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose. The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific op... Read More

Casein Media

Casein Plates contain the major milk protein found in milk. Organisms were grown on Casien agar for 72 hours at 37o C to look for the presence of the exoenzyme proteases/caseases . (A): Pseudomonas aeruginosa, casein hydrolysis, as noted by a zone of clearing around the organism, as well as a ... Read More

Independent evolution of harmful organisms from one bacterial family

For the first time, researchers have studied the Black Death bacterium's entire family tree to fully understand how some of the family members evolve to become harmful. Contrary to popular belief, the team found pathogenic members of this bacterial family do not share a recent common disease-cau... Read More

179 million cases of acute diarrhea in US each year, most preventable

In the United States, approximately 179 million cases of acute diarrhea occur each year, and most of those cases are entirely preventable. Produce is the most common source of diarrhea due to foodborne intestinal illness. Most consumers are not aware that 98 percent of spinach and lettuce bought... Read More

Cow Manure Harbors Diverse New Antibiotic Resistance Genes

Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows’ gut bacteria. The findings, reported in mBio® the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, hints that ... Read More

Events In Your Past Determine Which Microbes Live On You

A scientist with a swab and a microscope could tell what school you went to. Trillions of microbes live in and on our body. We don’t yet fully understand how these microbial ecosystems develop or the full extent to which they influence our health. Some provide essential nutrients, while others c... Read More

Remembering Carl Woese: A Memorial Issue of RNA Biology

The journal "RNA Biology" just published a memorial issue dedicated to the late, great Carl Woese. The entire issue is open access. I have a small contribution, but the entire issue is filled with great science, wonderful memories, and a fine celebration of a scientist who changed the way we l... Read More

Study of gut microbes, antibiotics offers clues to improving immunity in premature babies

Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs -— germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fight bacterial infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses. A new animal study by neonatology researchers at The Children's Hospital of P... Read More

Feasibility study suggests ways to widen access to fecal transplants for C. diff infections

Using frozen stool from healthy, unrelated donors was safe and effective in treating patients with serious, relapsing diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile, according to a new pilot study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online. Known as fecal microbiota transplantation... Read More

Deadly Human Pathogen Cryptococcus Fully Sequenced

DURHAM, NC - Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans -- a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and... Read More

Nutrient-absorbing surface’s assembly revealed: study

Vanderbilt University researchers have now discovered how intestinal cells build this specialized structure, which is critical for absorbing nutrients and defending against pathogens. The findings, published April 10 in the journal Cell, reveal a role for adhesion molecules in brush border assem... Read More
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