The Supreme Court said human genes isolated by scientists may not be patented, ruling unanimously today in a dispute weighing intellectual property associated with genes known to detect early signs of breast and ovarian cancer.
The dispute concerned a 2009 lawsuit filed by the American Civil ... Read More
Now that the mammalian intestinal microbiome has been promoted to organ status, might not such stately respectability be granted to the gut microbiota of other metazoans? If looking for a worthy candidate for such recognition, one could not do better than to consider the varied communities dwell... Read More
From millions of random mutations, scientists identify a virus that could make gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases safer and more effective. A new delivery mechanism shuttles gene therapy deep into the eye’s retina to repair damaged light-sensing cells without requiring a surgeon to put ... Read More
A new study shows that common mutant forms of the deadly JC polyomavirus are not responsible for the pathogen’s main attack, which causes a brain-damaging disease in immunocompromised patients called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. But that finding raises the ominous question of what... Read More
Viruses in gut confer antibiotic resistance to bacteria. Bacteria in the gut that are under attack by antibiotics have allies no one had anticipated, a team of Wyss Institute scientists has found. Gut viruses that usually commandeer the bacteria, it turns out, enable them to survive the antibiot... Read More
If half of a cell population were coloured white and the other half were coloured black, scientists should think all cells are grey. Conventional methods average over thousands of cells, overlooking any cell-to-cell variability. ETH scientists now measured metabolite levels in single yeast cells... Read More
In 2008, François-Henri Boissel was leading a charmed life. He was a young, successful investment banker working in Tokyo, Japan. And then the market crashed.
He thought of sticking it out, waiting until things improved, but then he remembered a conversation he’d had with his father, Jean-Pie... Read More
Regulator triggers efforts to standardize faecal transplants. The brown slurry is piped through tubes into the top of the human body — or the bottom. It can even come in pill form. For years, doctors have been transferring faeces into ill people’s intestines to replace resident microbes with a f... Read More
The Chinese Government seems committed to reforming food safety laws and investing in vital surveillance and monitoring systems, but experts say implementing those efforts could be challenging.
Published in the journal The Lancet, a new study suggests that the rapidly growing Chinese economy ... Read More
Amidst the outrage, puzzlement and theories caused by the finding of genetically-modified wheat in an Oregon field, USDA is considering whether to commercialize another dinnertime staple–the potato.
Last month, Idaho-based J.M. Simplot asked the Agriculture Department to grant a deregulated s... Read More
"Pharmaceutical residues are becoming increasingly a problem for the environment. Sewage plants do not decompose these substances completely. The problem will worsen if one considers, for example, the rising proportion of elderly people in our society who actually account for the increased consu... Read More
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Two back-to-back papers were published last week that provide a detailed analysis of what it would take for avian influenza H5N1 and H7N9 viruses to switch to human receptors. A single amino acid change in the viral hemagglutinin protein is sufficient to quantitatively change binding of the viru... Read More
The genome of mysterious bacteria that lurk in hospital drains has been sequenced.
Low levels of the bacteria, known only as candidate phylum TM6, have been found in water systems around the world, yet because they could not be cultured in the lab, almost nothing was known about them.
The ... Read More
When hijacking a garbage truck, one might as well make use of the trash. That logic drives how tuberculosis-causing bacteria feed, say Cornell scientists.
They report that bacteria-infecting macrophages – garbage trucklike immune cells – slow their hosts' trash-processing abilities to snack on ... Read More
Scientists discover highly asymmetric and branched patterns are the result of physical forces and local instabilities; research has important implications for understanding biofilms and multicellular systems.
Despite bacterial colonies always forming circular shapes as they grow, their cells... Read More
A new technology under development by an academic–industry partnership protects oral vaccines from destruction by the digestive system. From the mouth to the small intestine, the digestive system presents a series of challenges designed to protect us by killing ingested bacteria. If a microbe su... Read More
In April three biohackers from a California Do-It-Yourself biology lab, BioCurious, posted a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource their plan to bioengineer a glowing plant. They asked for $65,000. But by the close of their campaign at midnight on Thursday, June 6, they had raised a remarkable $48... Read More
Vaccines are just for kids, right? Not any more. U.S. health officials now recommend at least a half dozen vaccines for adults, to prevent pneumococcus virus, hepatitis, shingles and other ailments. And although the portion of adults who get these vaccinations rises slightly each year, the rates... Read More
Testing every person in India’s billion-plus population every five years for HIV would not only be cost-effective but also could save millions of lives for decades to come, a new study suggests.
In India most people who are HIV positive don’t know it—even though testing and treatment are rela... Read More