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Genetic variation in human gut viruses could be raw material for inner evolution

A growing body of evidence underscores the importance of human gut bacteria in modulating human health, metabolism, and disease. Yet bacteria are only part of the story. Viruses that infect those bacteria also shape who we are. Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, professor of Microbiology at the Perelman ... Read More

Special Session on Human Microbiome Livestreaming Free Online from ASM Annual Meeting

A newly added session at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology will focus on the latest data release by the NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP).

The HMP has been a five-year endeavor to produce community resources to support the human microbiome field. These activit... Read More

RNA virus packaging specificity explained?

In 1969 David Baltimore proposed that poliovirus RNA replication is coupled with packaging, in that only those genomes actively replicating will be selectively encapsidated. From an evolutionary standpoint, it is an ingenious requirement to ensure that only virus genomes capable of replication ... Read More

Group urges speedier approvals for badly needed antibiotics

Infectious-disease doctors have proposed a speedier, easier approval process for drug companies developing antibiotics against untreatable illnesses.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) made the proposal today at a hearing of a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Com... Read More

NEJM: The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine

At first glance, the inaugural 1812 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, and the Collateral Branches of Science seems reassuringly familiar: a review of angina pectoris, articles on infant diarrhea and burns. The apparent similarity to today's Journal, however, obscures a fu... Read More

Synthetic Stool a Prospective Treatment for C. Difficile

A synthetic mixture of intestinal bacteria could one day replace stool transplants as a treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). C . difficile is a toxin-producing bacteria that can overpopulate the colon when antibiotics eradicate other, naturally protective bacteria living there.

... Read More

TWiV 179 Letters

Ebrahim writes:


Dear Dr. Racaniello


I was watching the conference in Dublin and I wanted to thank you for sharing my e-mail with the people in the panel, since I saw how nice it was for me to reach the specialists with that ease through TWIV.<... Read More

Yale Nobel laureate creates compound that halts growth of malaria parasite

A drug candidate that has shown promise for neutralizing dangerous bacteria also prevents growth of the parasite that causes malaria, new research by a Yale University team headed by Nobel laureate Sidney Altman shows.

The compound created in the labs of Altman and co-senior author Choukri Be... Read More

Finding One Bug

A new, nanometer-sized biosensor can detect a single deadly bacterium in tainted ground beef. How? Researchers attached nanoparticles, each packed with thousands of dye molecules, to an antibody that recognizes the microbe E. coli O157:H7. When the nanoball-antibody combo comes into contact with... Read More

Common bacteria may cause colic

A bacteria that is known to be associated with more than 80% of gastric and doudenal ulcers, may be associated with infant colic. The bacteria, Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori), is found in the lining of the of the stomach wall.

Dr. Abdelrazak Mansour Ali from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egyp... Read More

TWiM 36 Letters

Todd writes:

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy TWiM, and in particular, how much I enjoyed episode 32 featuring Rosie Redfield. I don't know how you find time to do this, but I'm gl... Read More

Controversial H5N1 research papers OK to publish, says U.S biosecurity panel

Two controversial papers on bird flu will be published by scientific journals this year after the go-ahead was given by a U.S biosecurity panel.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) took a stand over the papers last year out of concerns that details of the studies - whi... Read More

Kawaoka paper published on aerosol transmission of H5 influenza virus in ferrets

One of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past six months was published today in the journal Nature. I have read it, and I can assure you that the results do not enable the construction of a deadly biological weapon. Instead, they illuminate important requir... Read More

The Microbiology of Speciation

The fields of microbial symbiosis and speciation have achieved astonishing advances during the past two decades, yet symbiosis and speciation are not commonly discussed together and can seem to be odd partners in their capacity to operate synergistically in nature. Indeed, microbial symbiosis is... Read More

Eternal Yogurt: The Starter That Lives Forever

If you make your own yogurt, there's a chance your yogurt could outlive you.
That's because some bacteria that grow and feed on the sugar in milk – the process that ferments milk into yogurt — can procreate indefinitely in new generations of yogurt.

But not all yogurts have these immortal po... Read More

Policy On High-Risk Biological Research Tightened

The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public.

The move comes in response to a huge debate over recent experiments on bird flu virus that got funding from the National Institu... Read More

TWiV 177 Letters

John writes:


Dear TWIVvers,


In TWIV 173, you talked about a study on antibody levels to bird flu (H5N1) in various populations, and related this to infections that don't cause serious enough illness to send someone to the hospital, or perhaps to get them teste... Read More

E. coli: can subtractive reverse vaccinology help design a vaccine?

Escherichia coli is no stranger to the human body. In around 20% of us, E. coli is the predominant species in our gastrointestinal tract, where it lives as a commensal. But when E. coli gets out of hand it can cause anything from gastroenteritis to sepsis to urinary tract infections. It's those ... Read More

Serratia marcescens on a DNA plate

Serratia marcescens streaked on a DNA plate and incubated for 48 hours at room temperature. Read More

Washington Post Kids: Ever wondered if there’s good bacteria?

As a pediatrician, I spend a lot of time looking for bacteria that might be making my patients sick. Some well-known illnesses that are caused by bacteria include strep throat, ear infections, Lyme disease and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Bacteria are also responsible for acne, cavities and body od... Read More

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