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It’s Funnier When You’re Right

The mystery of alcoholic fermentations was uncovered in the first half of the 19th century by Cagniard-Latour (1837) in France, and Schwann (1837) and Kützing (1837) in Germany, based on microscopic studies but not without controversy. The great German organic chemist Justus Liebig did not like ... Read More

Plant biodiversity under threat from general viruses

Introduced generalist plant viruses from other hosts that encounter native plant species for the first time pose a greater threat to plant biodiversity in south-west Australia than introduced specialist viruses, a recent study found.

The researchers compared impacts of six introduced generali... Read More

Zombie bacteria are nothing to be afraid of

Recently identified cell-cycle controls are targets for new drugs that fight infections by shutting down division.

A cell is not a soap bubble that can simply pinch in two to reproduce. The ability to faithfully copy genetic material and distribute it equally to daughter cells is fundamental ... Read More

New material improves wound healing, keeps bacteria from sticking

As many patients know, treating wounds has become far more sophisticated than sewing stitches and applying gauze, but dressings still have shortcomings. Now scientists are reporting the next step in the evolution of wound treatment with a material that leads to faster healing than existing comme... Read More

Predictive model a step toward using bacteria as a renewable fuel source

A new transcriptomics-based model accurately predicts how much isoprene the bacterium Bacillus subtilis will produce when stressed or nourished. This model marks a step toward understanding how changes in the bacteria's environment affect gene expression and, in turn, isoprene production. Isopre... Read More

Scientists: Mosquito Virus Spreads to Americas

A nasty virus first detected in Africa that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes is being locally transmitted in the Americas for the first time on the tiny French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin, health officials said Tuesday.

Epidemiologists have so far confirmed about ... Read More

Gene sequencing refines threatening parasite list

Twenty-six species of Cryptosporidium have been recognised and 18 species declared non-valid in a recent shake-up of the parasite's taxonomy using DNA sequencing techniques.

Cryptosporidium is the second biggest cause of infant diarrhoea and death in developing countries, and is found across ... Read More

The Way You’re Born Can Mess With the Microbes You Need to Survive

Throughout the animal kingdom, mothers transfer microbes to their young while giving birth. Different species of tadpoles acquire specific skin bacteria from mother frogs even though they all live in the same pond with the same bacterial background. Emerging chicken eggs get inoculated with micr... Read More

Hitchhiking virus confirms saga of ancient human migration

A study of the full genetic code of a common human virus offers a dramatic confirmation of the "out-of-Africa" pattern of human migration, which had previously been documented by anthropologists and studies of the human genome.

The virus under study, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usual... Read More

Endogenous RNA virus inhibits Borna disease virus replication

Animal genomes are known to contain captured retroviruses, typically referred to as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Many of these elements are still transcribed and are known to be involved in both beneficial functions in animal biology, such as placenta formation, and not-so beneficial functio... Read More

New research reveals how bacteria construct tiny flagella ‘nanomachines’ outside the cell

Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More

Rotavirus Activates Lymphocytes from Non-Obese Diabetic Mice by Triggering Toll-Like Receptor 7 Signaling and Interferon Production in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

It has been proposed that rotavirus infection promotes the progression of genetically-predisposed children to type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease marked by infiltration of activated lymphocytes into pancreatic islets. Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice provide a model for the human disease.... Read More

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Cordyceps: attack of the killer fungi

The video shows an ant that is infected with a fungus called Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, which has both infiltrated and commandeered its body. While it devours the ant alive, it also sends its zombified host scurrying up a plant stem. The ant walks along the underside of a leaf and vigorously l... Read More

A Snippet: Antibiotics In The Nursery

You have heard of the leaf-cutting ants1 that meticulously cultivate "their" fungi2 which provide them with nutrients, and that, in addition, host actinobacteria which prevent bacterial and fungal infections of their fungi as well as their own infection by an entomopathogenic fungus3 Metarhizium... Read More

Diversity of Antiviral Bacteria Discovered

Wolbachia, a symbiont that resides naturally up to 70% of all insect species, are probably the most prevalent infectious bacteria on Earth. In 2008 Luis Teixeira, now a principal investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, and other scientists have discovered that Wolbachia can protect ... Read More

Bacterial Gut Biome May Guide Colon Cancer Progression

Colorectal cancer develops in what is probably the most complex environment in the human body, a place where human cells cohabitate with a colony of approximately 10 trillion bacteria, most of which are unknown. At the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego, re... Read More

Study of gut microbes, antibiotics offers clues to improving immunity in premature babies

Mothers give a newborn baby a gift of germs -— germs that help to kick-start the infant’s immune system. But antibiotics, used to fight bacterial infection, may paradoxically interrupt a newborn’s own immune responses. A new animal study by neonatology researchers at The Children's Hospital of P... Read More

Bacteria swim with bodies and flagella

Using a new technique to track the swimming motion of a single bacterium, researchers have discovered that the movement of the bacterium’s body — not just thrust from the flagellum — allow movement through fluids. The finding could shed new light on the evolution of cell body shape.

Click "so... Read More

Of Terms in Biology: Metagenomic Binning

Summer's almost gone. Imagine you're strolling along the shores of a lake enjoying nature's colors during sunset. Sparkle catches your eyes where the lake languidly laps against the shore. You start pondering whether microbes — and if so which ones, and how many different — cause these glistenin... Read More

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