It’s an exciting time for ecologists who study microbes. DNA sequencing has grown so cheap and fast that they can run around identifying bacteria living just about anywhere they can reach with a cotton swab. Turns out, bacteria are everywhere, even in the cleanest houses, and scientists are star... Read More
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always ... Read More
All life on Earth relies on a standard set of 20 molecules called amino acids to build the proteins that carry out life's essential actions. But did it have to be this way?
All living creatures on this planet use the same 20 amino acids, even though there are hundreds available in nature. Sci... Read More
Kim Ritchie fell into coral research as an undergraduate, got a Ph.D. in genetics and was doing post-doctoral research in Panama when she lost her funding. With the ideal training for biotech, however, she slipped right into a startup. But when the company went bankrupt, she jumped back into res... Read More
The same bacteria that eats flesh can make a super glue used to bind molecules.
Dr. Mark Howarth, with his graduate student Bijan Zakeri in Oxford University's department of biochemistry, developed an adhesive that sticks molecules together, nearly inseparably.
They used the bacteria Strep... Read More
This recent interview of Martin Blaser by the Scientist is a great primer and will serve as good introduction/ update on the importance of protecting our friendly flora and the impact that the increased use of antibiotics may be having on our health and the well being of our microbiome. This in... Read More
A bacterium found in soil is a showing promise as a way of delivering cancer drugs into tumours.
Spores of the Clostridium sporogenes bacterium can grow within tumours because there is no oxygen.
UK and Dutch scientists have been able to genetically engineer an enzyme into the bacteria to ... Read More
Bacteria found in gold mines and frozen caves show the extreme flexibility of life, and hint at where else we might find it in the solar system.
The first time Tullis Onstott ventured underground, he squeezed into an elevator with dozens of South African gold miners and descended a mile into ... Read More
That's thanks to software created by a collaboration between two Brazilian National Institutes of Science and Technology, led by Wagner Meira, a computer scientist at the Federal University of Minus Gerais. The team has used it to identify a high correlation between the time and place where peop... Read More
Over 50 percent of bacterial infections in Indian hospitals are resistant to commonly used antibiotics, and surveys show that many widespread bacterial pathogens in India are also resistant to powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics.
In 2010, a team of South Asian and British scientists analyzed... Read More
Dear TWiM Team
A fascinating article from New Scientist this week.
Standard medical teaching is that the foetus is sterile and that the microbiome only begins to develop post natal.
New research from Spain indicates that the microbiome s... Read More
Dictyostelium discoideum is a soil-living amoeba. A group of 100,000 form a mound as big as a grain of sand.
The hereditary information is carried on six chromosomes with sizes ranging from 4 to 7 Mb resulting in a total of about 34 Mb of DNA, a multicopy 90 kb extrachromosomal element that h... Read More
Vince, here is the text of my post on Peter S site. I was disappointed in the quality of his article as I have much previous experience with his work and see him as the "David Baltimore of Risk Communication". If you could get him on as a guest you would e... Read More
If we can visualize a protein's shape, we can learn much more about how it functions and how we might block its activity. This was the guiding principle behind an NIH initiative launched 25 years ago to spur the discovery of HIV-related protein structures. Structures produced through the program... Read More