Performing sensitive biological experiments is always a delicate affair. Few researchers, however, contend with the challenges faced by Cheryl Nickerson, whose working laboratory aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is located hundreds of miles above the Earth, traveling at some 17,000 m... Read More
Fungi living beneath the seafloor are widespread in ocean environments around the world, according to a new paper by scientists at the University of Delaware and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“They’re ubiquitous,” said co-author Jennifer Biddle, assistant professor of marine bioscien... Read More
High on the list of the exciting manners bacteria communicate with one another is quorum sensing (QS), a population-dependent gene regulation system that operates within a wide range of species. The general scheme of QS is as follows: at high population densities, signal molecules called autoind... Read More
DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behaviour from the Stone Age to the modern day.
The ancient genetic record reveals the negative changes in oral bacteria brought about by the dietary ... Read More
For every one of our own cells, our bodies play host to 10 other microbial cells: bacteria, fungus, viruses and other microscopic creatures that scientists are still working to discover and understand. In other words, we're outnumbered by these 100 trillion or so microbes -- many of them strange... Read More
Replacing missing gut bacteria in a mouse model of autism reverses adverse social behaviours and gut disorders associated with the condition.
Last year, Sarkis Mazmanian and Paul Patterson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena found that infecting pregnant mice with molecules ... Read More
Bacteria from a healthy person can be transplanted to an ill person to help them recuperate. Visiting Jamaican-born Prof Karen E Nelson, president J Craig Venter Institute, explained this was one of the strides being made in genomics, which is the study of the collective genetic material in an o... Read More
BIRD FLU (H5N1) has receded from international headlines for the moment, as few human cases of the deadly virus have been reported this year. But when Dutch researchers recently created an even more deadly strain of the virus in a laboratory for research purposes, they stirred grave concerns abo... Read More
In our ongoing quest for alternative energy sources, researchers are looking more to plants that grow in the wild for use in biofuels, plants such as switchgrass.
However, attempts to “domesticate” wild-growing plants have a downside, as it could make the plants more susceptible to any number... Read More
A third member of a family in the UK has been infected with a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus, officials say.
It strengthens evidence that the virus can spread between people, however experts say the risk to the general population remains small.
Of the 12 people co... Read More
In 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula's apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. Th... Read More
University of Wisconsin-Madison bacteriology professor Timothy J. Donohue has been elected president of the American Society for Microbiology.
Donohue will take up the post of president-elect on July 1, followed by a one-year term as ASM president beginning July 1, 2014.
The Society is the... Read More
Being born by cesarean section has been tied to higher risks for various health problems in children, and now a new study finds these babies also have fewer "good" bacteria in their digestive tract.
Similarly, babies who were exclusively or even partially formula-fed rather than breast-fed al... Read More
Hello Vince and Dick,
I just found your podcast and I love it! You have some wonderfully witty banter.
I am only on my 4th episode (that's what you call a podcast segment right?), and have a question pertaining to my original reason for ... Read More
A research team led by Blossom Damania, PhD, found that suppressing the TLK enzyme causes the activation of the lytic cycle of both EBV and KSHV. During this active phase, these viruses begin to spread and replicate, and become vulnerable to anti-viral treatments.
Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated ... Read More
Throughout her career, the famous biologist Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) argued that the world of microorganisms has a much larger impact on the entire biosphere—the world of all living things—than scientists typically recognize. Now a team of scientists from universities around the world has colle... Read More
Vibrio cholerae, the scourge of nations lacking clean water. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the microbe that plagues people with cystic fibrosis. Acinetobacter species, opportunistic organisms that can infect vulnerable people. Escherichia coli, a culprit in food-borne illnesses.
When these bacteria... Read More
It’s not as exciting as El Dorado’s source of eternal youth, but nitric oxide-producing bacteria are extending the lifespan of the humble roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.
The worm lacks the enzyme needed to produce nitric oxide. In animals which are capable of manufacturing nitric oxide, it ... Read More