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Bacteria may play a role in the evolution of multicellularity

08/03/2012
Writing in Science, Jennifer Carpenter describes a presentation by Nicole King (UC Berkeley) at the Society for Developmental Biology meeting. Choanoflagellates seem to be provoked by bacteria into switching from a single-cell form to a rosette-shaped multicellular form. The work suggests that bacteria may have played a role in the ...

Source of Haitian cholera outbreak confirmed

08/24/2011
The Scientist highlights a paper by Paul Keim and colleagues, just published in mBio, confirming that Nepalese solders were the source of the cholera outbreak that killed 6000 and sickened many others. Keim and his co-workers used whole genome sequencing to compare 24 Nepalese samples with 10 Haitian samples to ...

NEJM video on hand washing in clinical care

04/05/2011
The ASM has for a number of years been supporting a hand washing campaign. The 31 March 2011 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine has a very good 14-minute-long video on hand washing in clinical care. (Pre-surgical hand scrubbing is not covered.) The video is by Yves Longtin, ...

Microbe survives on diet of arsenic

12/02/2010
In the New York Times, Dennis Overbye discusses work just published in Science, conducted by a USGS-Menlo Park team, who trained a gammaproteobacterium taken from sediments in Mono Lake to substitute arsenic almost completely for phosphorus. The results have far-reaching consequences for astrobiology and the search for life outside our ...

Surveying bacteria in the atmosphere

12/01/2010
An article by Vanessa Schipani in The Scientist (1 December 2010) points to research indicating that the atmosphere may harbor a microbial diversity comparable to soils, but is vastly less studied. Plans are underway to survey the atmosphere in all states and in various habitats: urban, agricultural, etc. It is ...

The New Germ Theory

11/24/2010
Natgure, 25 November 2010, has a fascinating article by Lizzie Buchen on a collaboration among Jill Banfield (UC Berkeley), a geologist, Michael Morowitz (University of Pittsburgh), a neonatal surgeon, and David Relman (Stanford University), a pioneer in the field of microbiome studies, to apply techniques developed by microbial ecologists to ...

Preventing tuberculosis deaths in India

11/08/2010
The most recent issue of The New Yorker has a fascinating article by Michael Specter on tuberculosis in India, where the most serious problem is not the unavailability or costs of drugs so much as the lack of proper diagnostic tests. This situation may change drastically with the availability of ...

Yeast nominated as the "life form of the month"

06/23/2010
In her column for the New York Times, Olivia Judson writes vividly and informatively on fungi, and on yeast in particular, pointing out some surprising similarities to human life, and why yeasts are thus so useful for research.

Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Western Hemisphere

05/17/2010
In an editorial in The New York Times (17 May 2010) Peter Hotez, Professor of Medicine at George Washington University, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and the author of the book "Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases" writes that the neglected tropical diseases are found not just in Africa but are ...

Extraterrestrial life right here on Earth?

05/14/2010
Paul Davies, of Arizona State University, has a provocative article in The New York Times (14 May 2010) on the quest for alternative life, "Life 2.0," in hidden or unexplored niches on Earth. Such life might substitute arsenic for phosphorus, or might be based on reverse handedness of molecules. Perhaps ...
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