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Uncovering the secret world of the Plastisphere

Scientists are revealing how microbes living on floating pieces of plastic marine debris affect the ocean ecosystem, and the potential harm they pose to invertebrates, humans and other animals. New research being presented here today delves deeper into the largely unexplored world of the “Plasti... Read More

Hacking Bacteria To Do Our Bidding: Photos

Scientists regularly tap into biological systems to find solutions for human problems. Although they work with plants and viruses in the lab, bacteria have many advantages as a starting point. When programmed in certain ways, bacteria can store data, clean dangerous waste, produce film-like imag... Read More

HIV Can Cut and Paste in the Human Genome

Aarhus University has developed a technology that uses the HIV virus as a tool in the fight against hereditary diseases - and in the long term, against HIV infection as well. The technology repairs the genome in a new and safer manner.

For the first time researchers have succeeded in altering... Read More

Soil bacterium causes biofuel breakdown

Biofuels made from plant materials—also known as lignocellulosic biofuels—have promise as a source of sustainable alternative fuels thanks to soil bacterium known as Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1. SCF1 degrades lignin and decomposes plant cell walls, allowing access to the cellulose sugars that... Read More

The Way You’re Born Can Mess With the Microbes You Need to Survive

Throughout the animal kingdom, mothers transfer microbes to their young while giving birth. Different species of tadpoles acquire specific skin bacteria from mother frogs even though they all live in the same pond with the same bacterial background. Emerging chicken eggs get inoculated with micr... Read More

Florida citrus growers worry that deadly bacteria will mean end of orange juice

The sprawling citrus orchard that Victor Story toured recently sure looked like a steal at $11,000 an acre. The investors who owned it were going to lose money, and potential buyers such as Story might have stood to reap a handsome reward.

But as he bumped along the 40 acres of groves in a la... Read More

Rotavirus Activates Lymphocytes from Non-Obese Diabetic Mice by Triggering Toll-Like Receptor 7 Signaling and Interferon Production in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

It has been proposed that rotavirus infection promotes the progression of genetically-predisposed children to type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease marked by infiltration of activated lymphocytes into pancreatic islets. Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice provide a model for the human disease.... Read More

Cilia use different motors for different tasks

Cilia — short, hair-like fibers — are widely present in nature. Single-celled paramecia use one set of cilia for locomotion and another set to sweep nutrients into their oral grooves. Researchers at Brown have discovered that those two cilia sets operate at different speeds when the viscosity of... Read More

Molecular Computer Detects Ebola and Marburg Viruses

Material from deadly pathogens triggers alerts directly, and could speed detection. Early detection is key to slowing outbreaks of Ebola, such as the one currently spreading across west Africa that is estimated to have infected almost 1000 people, according to the latest World Health Organizatio... Read More

Researchers open door to new HIV therapy

BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... 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

Calcium makes for an environmentally friendly pickle

George Washington had a collection of 476 kinds of pickles. To prevent scurvy, Christopher Columbus stocked pickles on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Julius Caesar, believing pickles to be invigorating, added them to the Roman legions' diet. In 5000 BCE, the Babylonians were known for picklin... Read More

Staph Germs Hide Out In The Hidden Recesses Of Your Nose

Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus. But it doesn't always work.

That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far fro... Read More

Bacteria show surprising number of genetic paths to survival

A boy with cystic fibrosis develops a chronic and potentially deadly Burkholderia dolosa infection in his lungs. Varieties of genetic mutations allow some strains of the bacteria to survive the dual assaults from his immune system and antibiotics, while others perish. Eventually, the strongest m... Read More

Recalling the Good in the Good Old Days

In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More

Microbiome in gut, mouth, and skin of low birth weight infants differentiate over first weeks after birth

Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study in mBio this week. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pi... Read More

Tiny Algae Responsible for Mysterious Fossil Whale Graveyard?

Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... Read More

Warmer temperatures push malaria to higher elevations

Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year. University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues are reporting the first har... Read More

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


All I remember that I know is that one time I let my cat endure a heavy flea infestation for an unconscionably long time. I redeemed myself, if at all, by the knowledge that I slept with her a lot, and so endured a share myself (b... Read More

UNC researchers discover new target for dengue virus vaccine

Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of... Read More

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