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Commensal bacteria were critical shapers of early human populations

Using mathematical modeling, researchers at New York and Vanderbilt universities have shown that commensal bacteria that cause problems later in life most likely played a key role in stabilizing early human populations. The finding, published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the Americ... Read More

The Microbe Mineral Makeover

Scientists review decades of work into bacterial proteins that transform iron and other minerals for energy and growth.

Cleaning up polluted soil and growing crops for biofuels benefit from a deeper understanding of how microbes alter subsurface minerals. Scientists at Pacific Northwest Natio... Read More

How influenza virus infection might lead to gastrointestinal symptoms

Human influenza viruses replicate almost exclusively in the respiratory tract, yet infected individuals may also have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. In mice, intestinal injury occurs in the absence of viral replication, and is a consequence of viral depletion of the gut... Read More

Why CRISPR Doesn't Work in E. coli

We received this query:

»I enjoyed the article on your blog 'Six Questions About CRISPRs' by Merry Youle. I am an ex-lambdologist, having quit phage lambda in the early 70s and moved to GM-plants. There is one thing about CRISPR that I do not understand: Why did lambdologists not find CRISPR?... Read More

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus’ key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, a... Read More

Study May Help Slow the Spread of Flu

An important study conducted in part at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory may lead to new, more effective vaccines and medicines by revealing detailed information about how a flu antibody binds to a wide variety of flu viruses.

The flu virus infects millions of p... Read More

Rapid Ebola Test Is Focus of NIH Grant to Rutgers Scientist

The test would quickly diagnose patients in remote locations where disease spread has been rampant.

Rutgers researcher David Alland, working with the California biotechnology company Cepheid, has received a grant of nearly $640,000 from the National Institutes of Health to develop a rapid tes... Read More

Ebola Experts Seek to Expand Testing

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is approaching the one-year mark, with no clear end in sight. At present, fewer than one in five people with Ebola is diagnosed within two days of becoming infectious, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Yet in the absence of a safe and effective vac... Read More

An Evolutionary Battle Against Bacteria

Every disease has a history. Some of that history is written in books, and some is written in our DNA.

The earliest records of meningitis — an infection of the membranes that line the brain — reach back to 1685. The British physician Thomas Willis described fevered patients, some of whom suff... Read More

Terminal Proteins: Crossing the Border

A variety of Bacteria, Archaea, and mobile genetic elements replicate their DNA as a linear chromosome using terminal proteins (TPs) to prime DNA synthesis, thus solving their end replication problem. As described in an earlier post, phage φ29 uses its TPs to also organize the sites of DNA repli... Read More

Yeast Are First Cells Known to Cure Themselves of Prions

Yeast cells can sometimes reverse the protein misfolding and clumping associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to new research from the University of Arizona.

The new finding contradicts the idea that once prion proteins have changed into the shape that aggregates, the change i... Read More

Underground microbes are social creatures, says a new study

A latest study led by University of Oslo and Dartmouth College researches shows that the underground microbes are actually social creatures and has swap genes for eons. It is expected that because oil reservoirs are spread deep inside the planet like distant islands in the ocean these creatures ... Read More

Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

For practically our whole history of cooking and eating, we've gotten our spices and most flavors (not to mention all of the other basic nutrients that keep us alive) straight from plants.

But researchers and biotech companies are starting to produce some of these nutrients and flavors — espe... Read More

Faster, more sensitive imaging of live cells – Biotech’s future

Developing new drugs means researchers must observe how cells react to those drugs over extended periods of time. NSF-funded small business Phi Optics has developed an optical microscope that lets scientists do just that -- study living cells in their natural environments.

Click "source" to r... Read More

Waxworm Gut Bacteria Can Degrade Plastic Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: http://www.asianscientist.com/2014/12/in-the-lab/waxworm-gut-bacteria-degrade-plastic/

The gut bacteria of a plastic-eating worm could help to break down the plastic waste clogging up landfills, according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Plastic remains in the environment for years without breaking down, contributing significantly to litter and landf... Read More

Advances in electron microscopy reveal secrets of HIV and other viruses

UC Davis researchers are getting a new look at the workings of HIV and other viruses thanks to new techniques in electron microscopy developed on campus. Read More

Alien Life on Mars? NASA Rover Spots Methane, a Possible Sign of Microbes

NASA's Curiosity rover team reported on Tuesday surprising spikes in methane gas, raising the possibility of microbial alien life on the red planet. On Earth, most methane, better known as natural gas, is released by microbes that belch out the gas as they digest food. The rover mission scientis... Read More

Latest research by NTU discovers reasons for malaria’s drug resistance

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered exactly how the malaria parasite is developing resistance towards the most important front-line drugs used to treat the disease.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasite which affects over 60 million people worldwide and in se... Read More

Tis the Season for Microbiology

From November 2010: http://subtledesigner.blogspot.com/

So this year we really tried hard to geek out with the Christmas tree decorations (not that we haven’t done this before). We went with a 'microscopic universe' theme complete with DNA garland (made from pipe cleaners), micro-organism o... Read More

Scientists Debate If It's OK To Make Viruses More Dangerous In The Lab

Imagine that scientists wanted to take Ebola virus and see if it could ever become airborne by deliberately causing mutations in the lab and then searching through those new viruses to see if any spread easily through the air.

Would that be OK?

The question was posed by David Relman, a mic... Read More
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