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In sub-Sahara, foot and mouth disease moves over short distances

You probably remember foot and mouth disease (FMD) from the 2001 outbreak in the UK that prompted the culling of over 10 million sheep and cattle, but the disease affects livestock all over the world. It's a particular problem in Africa, where wildlife that harbor the picornavirus that causes FM... Read More

Pictures Considered #17. The Meselson-Stahl Experiment

Described as the “Most Beautiful Experiment In Biology” the demonstration by Meselson and Stahl that DNA replicates semiconservatively is one of the major landmarks in the genesis of modern biology. And indeed it is most pleasing, both visually and cerebrally.

By semiconservative is meant tha... 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

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

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

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

Vinegar kills tuberculosis and other mycobacteria (press release)

The active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, can effectively kill mycobacteria, even highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an international team of researchers from Venezuela, France, and the US reports in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiolo... Read More

Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far ... Read More

Pictures Considered #18. Pictures of Shigella by Shiga

The journal Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde u. Infektionskrankheiten was one of the leading publication in the early days of Microbiology. Many of the great discoveries of microbial pathogens were published therein. An example is the 1898 Japanese microbiologist Kiyoshi Shiga acco... Read More

Infectious diseases: Smallpox watch

In 2011, while construction workers were digging a foundation at a site in Queens, New York, their equipment struck against something metal. Then a body rolled out of the rubble. Thinking that they might have unearthed the shallow grave of a murder victim, the workers immediately called the New ... 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

Innocence by Viral Tagging - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet with approximately 1030 in the world’s oceans at any time. As such, they play a central role in global nutrient cycling. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about how viruses interact with their hosts due to the dif... Read More

TB infection in lungs decreases diversity of gut bacteria

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence in mice that a tuberculosis (TB) infection in the lungs triggers immune system signaling to the gut that temporarily decreases the diversity of bacteria in that part of the digestive tract.

The Johns Hopkins researchers showed that this decrease i... Read More

Gut Bacteria in Preemies Altered by Hospital Stay, Study Finds

Gut bacteria in premature infants don't come from their mothers, but from microbes in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), a new study finds. Babies typically get their gut bacteria from their mothers during childbirth. Premature infants, however, receive antibiotics during their first week ... Read More

One Dose of Flu Drug Shortens Fever

A single dose of an investigational influenza drug was able to reduce the duration of fever and viral shedding, researchers said here.

In a combined analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials, the neuraminidase inhibitor peramivir (Rapivab), given by injection within 48 hours of sym... Read More

New genomics technique could improve treatment and control of malaria

Single-cell genomics could provide new insight into the biology of malaria parasites (including their virulence and levels of drug resistance) to ultimately improve treatment and control of the disease, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the National Institutes of Health.... Read More

Knowing how bacteria take out trash could lead to new antibiotics

A team of scientists has reconstructed how bacteria tightly control their growth and division, the cell cycle, by destroying specific proteins through regulated protein degradation. All organisms use controlled protein degradation to alter cell behavior in response to changing environment. A pro... Read More

The typhoid fever pathogen uses a cloaking mechanism to evade neutrophil neutralization

Typhoid fever is caused by systemic infection with Salmonella enterica Typhi. In contrast, infection with the closely related bacterium Salmonella enterica Thyphimurium is usually limited to the gut and causes less serious diarrheal disease. Research comparing the two pathogens reveals how S. Ty... Read More

How Clean Should We Be?

There's a belief that says exposing people -- especially babies and young children -- to different kinds of germs early in life can keep them from developing illnesses like asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. The theory, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” is that o... Read More

Oral Bacteria and Cancer

Over a number of years, epidemiological studies established several well-defined risk factors for cancer, including age, heredity, diet, tobacco use, chronic viral infections, and inflammation. Paradoxically, the success of these studies left little room for incorporation of any new factors or c... Read More

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