A small cicada-like insect called the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) threatens the world's citrus industries, transmitting an incurable and lethal citrus disease. This notorious pest harbors two bacterial species within cells specially prepared for the purpose of symbiosis. Whereas thes... Read More
We're pleased to reprint here in slightly shorted form a recent post from Lucas’ Thoughtomics, a Scientific American blog whose aim is “Exploring evolution through genes, computers and history." By kind permission.
Microbiologists have long noted something odd about the Halobacteria (and not ... Read More
The word 'unnatural' is often used to describe what's considered weird or unusual. But is anything weirder than nature?
Just look at 17-year cicadas, poised to flood the U.S. East Coast after having stayed underground since Bill Clinton was President. And cicadas are just the start: Biology a... Read More
The BCG vaccine has been found to be more effective against the most common form of tuberculosis than previously thought, according to a new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine is included in the childhood vaccination programme of many countries, and ... Read More
Our understanding of microbial life is greatly biased by our narrow focus on microbes as they grow in the laboratory. Yet, as discussed previously in this blog, microbes can persist in various dormant forms for extended periods of time. Sporulation (from the Greek “spora” or seed) is perhaps the... Read More
The gastropod mollusc Scaphander lignarius —a marine invertebrate found in North Atlantic and Mediterranean water— is the first organism, besides bacteria, in which the biosynthesis of lignarenones, organic molecules involved in organism’s chemical defence, has been identified. This is one of th... Read More
Innovative work by two Florida State University scientists that shows the structural and DNA breakdown of a bacteria-invading virus is being featured on the cover of the February issue of the journal Virology.
Kathryn Jones and Elizabeth Stroupe, both assistant professors in the Department of... 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
Bacteria may lack a true immune system, but this does not leave them defenseless against bacteriophage viruses and other pathogens. A system of genomic sequence elements called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and various CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) help to... Read More
In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of six-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.
"This bacteria, Mannheimia haemolytica, lives in most... Read More
If a breakthrough in developing an HIV vaccine occurred today, scientists and drug companies would need another decade to provide a commercial product. But, after a long struggle, researchers may indeed have made that breakthrough using a new vaccine approach that combines two prior ones. Given ... Read More
Researchers have developed a system that concentrates foodborne salmonella and other pathogens faster than conventional methods by using hollow thread-like fibers that filter out the cells, representing a potential new tool for speedier detection.
The machine, called a continuous cell concent... Read More
New research shows giant pandas have a stronger immune system than previously known, because the panda immune system develops different antigens depending on where it lives.
This genetic diversity is a natural defense against extinction, because it means a single pathogen cannot wipe out the ... Read More
An animal model of the human norovirus created at the University of Michigan Health System lays the groundwork for understanding the biology of the pesky virus and developing antiviral drug treatment.
Well-known as the virus that impacts cruise ship vacations, norovirus leads to misery on lan... Read More
How rare 'words' in bacterial genes boost protein production. Scientists routinely seek to reprogram bacteria to produce proteins for drugs, biofuels and more, but they have struggled to get those bugs to follow orders. But a hidden feature of the genetic code, it turns out, could get bugs with... Read More
A clinical study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases shows for the first time that an oral cholera vaccine (ShancholTM) provides sustained protection against cholera in humans for up to five years. The study showed the vaccine had a protective efficacy of 65% over a five-year period. The... Read More
Epidemiologists and the Centers for Disease Control say the flu virus has become widespread in 10 states, mainly in the Northeast and South, as the 2013-2014 flu season approaches its peak.
In its weekly survey of state epidemiologists, the CDC reported that cases of influenza were widespread... Read More
We have the dubious privilege of observing a new disease in the midst of being born. The disease could go on to spread around the world, stall out as a minor, local blight, or disappear altogether. Scientists have been observing its emergence for a year now, and while they know more than they di... 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
A dry fracture of a Vero cell exposing the contents of a vacuole where Coxiella burnetii are busy growing. Credit: National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services (NIAID). Read More