In the beginning there were Ida and Luca. The initial Darwinian ancestor - Ida - and the last universal common ancestor - Luca - assembled themselves from the spare parts sloshing around on the early Earth. Once all the ingredients were in place, it looks like life was all but inevitable.
The... Read More
An Agricultural Research Service (ARS ) scientist may have found a way to cut the amount of ammonia produced by cattle. To do it, he's using a key ingredient of the brewer's art: hops.
Cattle, deer, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals depend on a slew of naturally occurring bacteria to ai... Read More
Human evolution is looking more tangled than ever. A new genetic study of nearly two thousand people from around the world suggests that some of our ancestors bred with other species of humans, such as Neanderthals, at least twice.
"The researchers suggest the interbreeding happened about 60,... Read More
Scientists have discovered for the first time that antibodies in common eggs laid by hens vaccinated against the H5N1 virus can potentially prevent a possible H5N1 pandemic, raising the possibility that the same principle could be applied to the current H1N1 influenza pandemic.
A team of scie... Read More
Highly dangerous Cryptococcus fungi love sugar and will consume it anywhere because it helps them reproduce. In particular, they thrive on a sugar called inositol which is abundant in the human brain and spinal cord.
To borrow inositol from a person’s brain, the fungi have an expanded set of ... Read More
Researchers at the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg have discovered a brand new species of bacterium found only in the Gullmarsfjord north of Gothenburg. The bacterium has been named Endoxenoturbella lovénii to honour the newly founded marine research center.... Read More
If the Census Bureau thinks it has its hands full counting Americans, imagine what scientists are up against in trying to tally every living thing in the ocean, including microbes so small they seem invisible.
And just try to get them to mail back a form.
The worldwide Census of Marine L... Read More
Phenol extraction is a commonly used method for removing proteins from a DNA sample, e.g. to remove proteins from cell lysate during genomic DNA preparation. It’s commonly used, but not commonly understood.
This article describes the basic protocol and explains solvents in detail before an ex... Read More
One of the very first things you need to do when getting set up for quantitative PCR (qPCR) is to determine the efficiency of the assay because knowing the assay efficiency is critical to accurate data interpretation. And you have to do this every time you design and purchase a new primer pair.
... Read More
In a previous article, we discussed the basic characteristics of biofilm samples and factors that influence sample prep and handling. Today we want to share with you some very important tips for isolation of DNA or RNA from biofilm samples. After working with numerous different biofilms and bio... Read More
All mammalian genomes contain genes encoding Apobec proteins. Several members of this protein family (the name stands for apolipoprotein B mRNA editing complex) are induced by interferon and are intrinsic antiretroviral proteins. Apobec proteins inhibit the replication of XMRV, a new human retro... Read More
Health Canada is recalling a mouthwash sold at Dollarama stories across Canada after testing showed it includes a dangerous bacteria.
Pseudomonas fluorescens may cause abscesses in open wounds, and could have more serious complications in people with weakened immune systems.
Approximately ... Read More
The doctor who would become the Canadian face of pandemic prevention was struggling to appear calm while under attack at a parliamentary subcommittee one year ago this week.
Chief public health officer David Butler-Jones was being grilled by MPs over the agency's handling of the listeriosis f... Read More
“Think of it as a battery that runs on mud,” says the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and there in a nutshell is the concept behind the Navy’s new microbial fuel cell. The Navy has been using small lightweight microbial fuel cells to power sensors (to track sea turtles, for example) and now its g... Read More
Scientists investigating ovale malaria, a form of the disease thought to be caused by a single species of parasite, have confirmed that the parasite is actually two similar but distinct species which do not reproduce with each other, according to research published in The Journal of Infectious D... Read More
Each autumn, as the leaves on the apple trees in the Loire Valley turn from green to gold, observant orchardists notice islands of healthy green within the otherwise yellow leaves. These islands coincide with the site of leaf mines created by the larvae of a small moth, the apple leafminer Phyl... Read More
Researchers in Kenya have been trying a seemingly unlikely tactic to prevent epilepsy: teaching farmers to tether their pigs.
The goal is to stop the pigs from spreading a type of tapeworm that can infect the brain in humans and that is a major cause of epilepsy in poor countries, particularl... Read More
A recent discovery in understanding how to chemically break down the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into a useful form opens the doors for scientists to wonder what organism is out there—or could be created—to accomplish the task.
University of Michigan biological chemist Steve Ragsdale, along... Read More