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Gonorrhea Acquires a Piece of Human DNA: First Evidence of Gene Transfer from Human Host to Bacterial Pathogen

If a human cell and a bacterial cell met at a speed-dating event, they would never be expected to exchange phone numbers, much less genetic material. In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded from humans to bacteria.

Until now. Northwestern Medicine researcher... Read More

Playboy Mansion visitors hit with mystery illness

Los Angeles County health officials are investigating suspicions that Hugh Hefner's legendary Playboy Mansion was ground zero for a rash of mysterious respiratory ailments that afflicted people who attended a fundraiser there earlier this month.

The inquiry by the Department of Public Health ... Read More

Study showing high effectiveness for H1N1 vaccine stirs debate

A recent case-control study estimates that the adjuvanted pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine used in Canada was effective 93% of the time, a substantially higher figure than seen in several other studies and one that has raised some eyebrows among other flu vaccine researchers.

In the study, pa... Read More

Doctors would 'bypass NHS sexual health vaccine'

Nine out of 10 specialists working in sexual health would give their daughters a private vaccine rather than use the NHS one, according to a survey.

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) questioned 520 sexual health professionals in the UK.

They are concerned that the N... Read More

Bacterial Biofilms Beat Teflon in Repelling Liquids

Slimy mats of bacteria called biofilms may be the most liquid-repellent materials in nature, researchers have discovered.

“There are a few man-made materials that can perform better, and they have to be made in clean rooms. They’re incredibly expensive and brittle,” said materials scientist A... Read More

Constructing the Microbial Biomap for Planet Earth

Have you heard about the Earth Microbiome Project? Led by the laboratories of Jack Gilbert from Argonne National Labs along with Folker Meyer (Argonne), Janet Jansson (LBNL), Rob Knight (University of Colorado), this is a pioneering effort to characterize the global microbial taxonomic and func... Read More

New Way to Attack Pathogens: RNA Recycling System Gone Awry Brings MRSA to a Halt

Scientists have discovered a new way to attack dangerous pathogens, marking a hopeful next step in the ever-escalating battle between man and microbe.

In a paper published online Feb. 10 in the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists demonstrate that by stopping bacteria's ability to degrade RNA -... Read More

TWiV 120 Letters

Ashley writes:


Vincent, I am a huge fan of TWIV and thank you and the others for taking time out of your busy schedule to do the program. I have my B.S. in Biology and Chemistry and would love to go back to school. I read textbooks, listen to podcasts from itunesU and... Read More

TWiV 120: Ed Niles, a Km Vmax kind of guy

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Hosts: Vincent RacanielloRich Condit, and... Read More

Flu pandemic measures can start late, researchers say

Measures to reduce the impact of a flu pandemic, such as closing schools, should not necessarily take place at the beginning of an outbreak, according to computer models.

A report in PLoS Computational Biology argues that starting several weeks later could be more effective.

The researche... Read More

Breastfeeding may transmit vaccine virus

A Canadian doctor reports breastfeeding seems to have transmitted a mother's live-virus yellow fever vaccine virus to her baby.

Dr. Susan Kuhn of the University of Calgary says this incident affirms current recommendations breastfeeding mothers avoid the yellow fever vaccine -- in use since t... Read More

34 test positive for tuberculosis exposure at NJ hospital

A total of 34 employees at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital tested positive for exposure to tuberculosis last week, but no one has contracted the disease, the hospital CEO reported on Thursday.

The Ocean County Health Department and state Department of Health reviewed a list of every patie... Read More

Leafcutter Ant Genome Reveals Secrets of Fungus Farming Ways

Leafcutter ants, signature denizens of New World tropical forests, are unique in their ability to harvest fresh leaves to cultivate a nutrient-rich fungus as food.

Now, this mutualism -- a complicated interplay of ants, fungi and a suite of bacteria -- is coming into sharper focus as a team o... Read More

Cellular chaos fights infection

Researchers have identified a molecule that disrupts RNA degradation in gram-positive bacteria such as the deadly MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and the microbe that causes meningitis, according to research published today in PLoS Pathogens.

Treatment with this molecule l... Read More

For an idea of what early life looked like, look no farther - than cancer?

Quite an idea here, made me think of the part in the Matrix when the nefarious Agent Smith refers to humanity as a "virus" - seems like he was a little off-base. Read More

Charging against the Flu: Studying the Virus on the Atomic Level

With the flu now resistant to its two most common medications, doctors and drug developers have grown increasingly puzzled about how to treat the virus. A 900-megahertz magnet is offering some new clues. Biochemists at Florida State University and Brigham Young University have used a 40-ton magn... Read More

Virus, Parasite May Combine to Increase Harm to Humans

A parasite and a virus may be teaming up in a way that increases the parasite's ability to harm humans, scientists at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently reported in Science.

When the parasite Leishmania infects a human,... Read More

Fighting back against antibiotic resistant bacteria


Scientists in Japan have revealed how vancomycin dimers are effective against vancomycin-resistant bacteria.

Vancomycin, a glycopeptide antibiotic, is used to treat bacterial infections in cases when other antibiotics are ineffective. However, the development of vancomycin resistant enteroc... Read More

Trichophyton rubrum var. granulare

This photograph depicts the frontal view of a Petri dish within which fungal colonies of Trichophyton rubrum var. granulare had been cultured. Revealed is the colonial morphology, which in the case of T. rubrum is said to be waxy, glaborous, i.e., flat to cottony, and display from a frontal pers... Read More

Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance

This silent animation created for Evolution: "The Evolutionary Arms Race" follows the progression of antibiotic resistance. When a sick person takes antibiotics, the drugs begin to kill off the bacteria. But if treatment stops prematurely, it leaves some microbes alive -- the ones with mutations... Read More
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