For millennia, humans have used the codeine and morphine of the poppy plant as painkillers—or recreational drugs. For the last half-century, says Peter Facchini, biologists have tried to unlock just how the plant produces these powerful chemicals, and wound up frustrated. But now, in a study in... Read More
The primordial soup that gave birth to life on EarthMovie Camera may have had an extra, previously unrecognised ingredient: a "molecular midwife" that played a crucial role in allowing the first large biomolecules to assemble from their building blocks.
The earliest life forms are thought by ... Read More
Will global warming make fungal infections a bigger problem for humans?
Fungi usually prefer to keep the thermostat turned down around 12ºC to 30ºC, a bit colder than the human body. This preference for cooler temperatures is part of the reason relatively few fungi have emerged as human path... Read More
Whole-genome sequencing is touted as the tech that will finally unmask our genetic "dark matter" - as-yet unknown disease-drivers that are missed by current gene scans. It hasn't done that yet, but for the first time two separate groups of researchers have used it to uncover mutations underlying... Read More
A potent new inhibitor of HIV, derived from bananas, may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, according to a University of Michigan Medical School study published this week.
Scientists have an emerging interest in lectins, naturally occurring chemicals in pla... Read More
Like a band of detectives surveying the movement of a criminal, researchers using photographic technology have caught at least one culprit in the act.
In this case, electron microscopy was used to watch a deadly bacteria breakdown cell walls in wine grape plants -- an image that previously ha... Read More
After spending many months working with all types of biofilms and biomat samples from around San Diego and speaking with scientists all over the world, we understand the difficulty in determining the microbial diversity in these sample types.
In many ways, biofilms are similar to soils in tha... Read More
In the ongoing battle between pathogens and humans, bacteria have an unusual survival tactic: playing dead.
cientists in Boston and elsewhere are increasingly interested in mysterious “persisters’’ — a small number of cells in a bacterial population that are not growing, but are also not dead... Read More
For two decades, scientists have been pursuing a potential new way to treat bacterial infections, using naturally occurring proteins known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Now, MIT scientists have recorded the first microscopic images showing the deadly effects of AMPs, most of which kill by po... Read More
It wasn’t until Ileana Peralta was in junior high school that she summoned the courage to Google her own disease.
The teenager from Livermore knew almost everything about her inherited condition, Epidermolysis bullosa, a tongue twister even doctors call just EB. The disease is caused by the ... Read More
On episode #73 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Dickson, and Rich discuss multipotent progenitor bone marrow cells as a reservoir of HIV-1, integration of HHV-6 into telomeres, and dispersal of ... Read More
Scientists studying the Anopheles gambiae mosquito -- the main vector of malaria -- have found that when the mosquito takes a blood meal, that act triggers two enzymes to form a network of crisscrossing proteins around the ingested blood. The formation of this protein barrier, the researchers f... Read More
Using green algae to produce hydrocarbon oil for biofuel production is nothing new; nature has been doing so for hundreds of millions of years, according a Texas AgriLife Research scientist.
"Oils from the green algae Botryococcus braunii can be readily detected in petroleum deposits and coal... Read More
The weird world of quantum mechanics describes the strange and spooky, often contradictory, behavior of small objects such as individual atoms. Now, European scientists have described an experiment to test for quantum superposition states in much larger objects, composed of as many as one billio... Read More
Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic... Read More
Year after year, legislation intended to preserve the effectiveness of available antibiotics by limiting their use in livestock is shot down. The latest bills introduced in both houses of Congress have been stalled for close to a year.
Banning the use of antibiotics in perfectly healthy anima... Read More
The Food and Drug Administration is reexamining the safety of a culinary staple found in every restaurant, food manufacturing plant and home kitchen pantry: spices.
In the middle of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness linked to black and red pepper -- and after 16 separate U.S. recall... Read More
Stories of environmental damage and their consequences always seem to take place far away and in another country, usually a tropical one with lush rainforests and poison dart frogs.
In fact, similar stories starring familiar animals are unfolding all the time in our own backyards -- including... Read More
Today's decision by a federal court that the preservative thimerosal does not cause autism has sparked a lot of comment in the autism community, most of it negative. Many saw it as a government conspiracy to protect the vaccine industry, a claim that has also been made about the swine flu vacci... Read More