Forget needles in haystacks. Try finding the tip of a needle in a virus. Scientists have long known that a group of viruses called bacteriophages have a knack for infiltrating bacteria and that some begin their attack with a protein spike. But the tip of this spike is so small that no one knew w... Read More
Beer discovered two years ago onboard a shipwreck from the mid-1800s could possibly be recreated using living bacteria discovered in the brew, Finnish researchers announced last Thursday.
According to Terhi Kinnunen of Reuters, Annika Wilhelmson from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland s... Read More
Insects have been around for almost 400 million years. That’s plenty of time for evolution to fashion countless horrific deaths for them. Case in point: some insects die because a little worm vomits glowing bacteria inside their bodies.
The worm is Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a microscopic... Read More
Researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute, the Technical University of Denmark, and elsewhere used whole-genome sequence typing to retrace the evolutionary history of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain currently found in livestock back to its antibiotic-sus... Read More
Reuters columnist Peter Christian Hall believes the possibility that H5N1 could be effectively weaponized is remote and there is more harm than good in withholding data from two research papers that outline the methods to create an aerosolized strain of avian flu in ferrets.
"Amid the furor ... Read More
Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts.
The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step toward... Read More
Squishing a stack of virus sheets generates enough electricity to power a small liquid crystal display. With increased power output, these virus films might one day use the beating of your heart to power a pacemaker, the researchers behind them say.
Piezoelectric materials build up charge whe... Read More
One of my heroes, evolutionary microbiologist Lynn Margulis, died this past Thanksgiving. She was an amazing lady who was married to Carl Sagan for many years, and partnered with James Lovelock in discovering that the earth is an interconnected living global ecosystem run largely by microbes. Sh... Read More
This past February I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of the Fouchier and Kawaoka experiments on avian influenza virus H5N1. The video, Building the Perfect Bug, has been released by Journeyman Pictures and includes interviews with S.T. Lai, Laurie Garrett, Mic... Read More
Hi Dr Racaniello,
I am a long time listener of TWIV and really enjoy the informal scientific discussions. I listen to TWIV while working in the lab and am trying to catch up on TWIM and TWIP episodes too.
I have been dill... Read More
Photo taken by Joshua Yospyn for WJLA TV at the We Can End AIDS march in Washington, D.C. Read More
One hundred million years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than today and vast inland seas stretched across entire continents. The land was dominated by charismatic megafauna that would one day serve as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. This period is commonly... Read More
As the world’s athletes limber up for the forthcoming Olympic games in London, infectious-disease experts are preparing for their own trials. Their competition is with the diseases that millions of athletes, officials, media and spectators bring with them as they converge from across the globe o... Read More
Dear Twim team
An interesting paper on artificial selection of yeast giving rise to evolved clusters. The clusters evolved to be larger, produce multicellular progeny, and even s... Read More
The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), which attacks the immune system and leaves infected individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections. AIDS and HIV-1 are thought to have a relatively short history in humans, with the... Read More
Hello to the TWiV crew,
Here are a couple of picks I thought would be good for provoking thought and generating discussion...
While working on a project, I came across some papers attempting to define what "critical thinking" means. I app... Read More
Enterococci had been generally regarded as benign commensals, a part of our healthy intestinal microbiota. They were even invited in, being used as probiotics. But then, in the late 1970s, the first multiple drug-resistant strains appeared, and vancomycin-resistant strains followed in 1981. In r... Read More
In the search for new life, scientists have studied the depths of the ocean and the lips of steaming volcanoes. They've looked on Mars and the moons of Jupiter, and even planets beyond this solar system.
Dr. David Relman went searching inside his own mouth. On a routine dental visit in 1998, ... Read More
Better resistance to parasites and a less fussy diet are allowing aggressive signal crayfish from the US to threaten white-clawed crayfish native to Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire crayfish suffers from two parasites: plague, which is carried by the American invader, and porcelain disease that makes... Read More
A bacterium recently discovered near Death Valley has some very unusual properties according to a report published in the December 23 issue of Science magazine. While some ‘bugs’ are like migratory birds, making tiny magnets that they use to guide their navigation, this is the first bacterium to... Read More