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Animating the Inanimate

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, with untold amounts being produced yearly. It has always been regarded as a strong, solid, impenetrable, almost indestructible material yet it can make cracks that are vulnerable to penetration by water. As the result, structures ... 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

A Bacterial Body Clock: Cryptic Periodic Reversals In Paenibacillus dendritiformis

As humans we live our lives in 24-hour increments—waking, eating, and sleeping at specific times dictated to us not solely by our discerning willpower, but also by the greater underlying persuasion of our circadian rhythm. Based on the earth’s rotation from day into night, we have internalized a... Read More

Key Mechanism Behind Herpes Revealed

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have for the first time managed to measure the internal pressure that enables the herpes virus to infect cells in the human body. The discovery paves the way for the development of new medicines to combat viral infections. The results indicate good chance... Read More

This Tiny Sensor Spots Salmonella In Minutes, Not Days

A new biosensor quickly detects salmonella in food and can be easily customized to detect other types of bacteria—or even different strains for the same bacterium.

The process appears to easily outperform tests that are now standard in the food industry, according to researchers at Rice Unive... 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

Books for the Giving Season: Viral Readings

As the year closes out, we enter into the giving seasons of a variety of traditions. Lurking among the more pleasant types of giving is the 2013 – 2014 flu season, a viral gift that often keeps on giving. To combat this, reminders about the potential dangers of influenza and the importance of va... Read More

Designer 'Swiss-Army-Knife' Molecule Captures RNA from Single Cells in Their Natural Tissue Environment

A multi-disciplinary team from the University of Pennsylvania have published in Nature Methods a first-of-its-kind way to isolate RNA from live cells in their natural tissue microenvironment without damaging nearby cells. This allows the researchers to analyze how cell-to-cell chemical connectio... Read More

Bacteria and hand washing Pragmatic to school children in rural Nepal

Hand washing is thought to be effective for the prevention of transmission of
Diarrhea pathogens. However it is not conclusive that hand washing with soap is more
Effective at reducing contamination with bacteria associated with diarrhea than using water only. Read More

Predictive model a step toward using bacteria as a renewable fuel source

A new transcriptomics-based model accurately predicts how much isoprene the bacterium Bacillus subtilis will produce when stressed or nourished. This model marks a step toward understanding how changes in the bacteria's environment affect gene expression and, in turn, isoprene production. Isopre... Read More

Native algae species to blame for 'rock snot' blooms in rivers worldwide

The recent blooms of the freshwater algae known as "rock snot" on river bottoms worldwide are caused by a native species responding to changing environmental conditions rather than by accidental introductions by fishermen or the emergence of a new genetic strain as widely believed, a Dartmouth C... Read More

8 unusual uses for probiotics

Most of us are familiar with taking our daily probiotic supplement in the conventional way, either in capsule or powder form. It is however becoming increasingly apparent that people are discovering some weird and wonderful ways to use their probiotics, and here nutritional therapist Jo Saunders... Read More

Bird flu experiments pose risk of accidental release

Research in mammals that aims to prevent future influenza pandemics raises ethical, public health concerns. Experiments creating dangerous flu strains that are transmissible between mammals pose too great a risk to human life from potential release, according to an editorial by researchers from... Read More

Reports hit Agriculture Dept. for ‘serious weaknesses’ in food inspection measures

Recent salmonella outbreaks that sickened at least 523 people and sent dozens to the hospital underscore “serious weaknesses” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s oversight of poultry plants, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also criticized the govern... 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

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

Fluorescence staining of direct sputum smear showing numerous bacilli of Mycobacteria.

Fluorescence staining of a direct sputum smear from a patient of chronic bronchitis showing numerous bacilli of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Read More

New research reveals how bacteria construct tiny flagella ‘nanomachines’ outside the cell

Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More

Community-based HIV prevention can boost testing, help reduce new infections

Communities in Africa and Thailand that worked together on HIV-prevention efforts saw not only a rise in HIV screening but a drop in new infections, according to a new study in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Global Health.

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health's Project Accept —... Read More

Separating the good from the bad in bacteria

New microfluidic technique quickly distinguishes bacteria within the same strain; could improve monitoring of cystic fibrosis and other diseases. There are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria — and sometimes both coexist within the same species.

Take, for instance, Pseudomonas aeruginos... Read More

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