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On Evolution, Biology Teachers Stray From Lesson Plan

Teaching creationism in public schools has consistently been ruled unconstitutional in federal courts, but according to a national survey of more than 900 public high school biology teachers, it continues to flourish in the nation’s classrooms.

Researchers found that only 28 percent of biolo... Read More

New Salmonella strain delivers gene-based therapy to fight virus in mice

Most people do their best to avoid contact with Salmonella. This bacteria family, which often lives on poultry and can find its way into other food products, causes hundreds of thousands of illnesses—and hundreds of deaths—in the U.S. each year. But new research demonstrates that this common foo... Read More

Five ways garlic can extend your life

When Bram Stoker first wrote “Dracula” in the late 1890s and included a superstition some Europeans believed about using garlic externally to protect themselves from evil spirits, other residents at that time already knew the facts about which menaces garlic was actually the most effective again... Read More

TWiP 22 Letters

Luca writes:

Hi Vince and Dick,


I am an avid listener of your podcast (and Twiv, too) - I started something like six months ago and I've retrieved all those whose title sounded interesting. I am not a parasitologist myself, though I am a pharmaceutical (computational... Read More

TWiP 22: Hookworm

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Vincent and Dickson discuss possibly the most socially and politically important nematode of humans, the hookworm Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus.


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BacterioFiles Micro Edition 29 - Mid-air Microbial Mix

This episode: A sample of bacteria in city air!


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Single-cell marine predator’s unique survival mechanisms revealed: UBC research

University of British Columbia researchers have uncovered the unique survival mechanisms of a marine organism that may be tiny, but in some ways has surpassed sharks in its predatory efficiency.

“Our study shows that Oxyrrhis marina has picked up a gene commonly used by marine bacteria for ph... Read More

Turning Bacteria Against Themselves

Bacteria often attack with toxins designed to hijack or even kill host cells. To avoid self-destruction, bacteria have ways of protecting themselves from their own toxins.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have described one of these protective mechanis... Read More

Hong Kong combats more severe flu season with new antibodies

Doctors hope to treat this year's severe flu epidemic in Hong Kong by harvesting antibodies from patients who have recovered, medical experts said on Tuesday.

The experts said they hoped to treat more than 70 severely ill flu patients with certain antibodies taken from patients who have recov... Read More

Consumers Value Safer Food More Than Current Analyses Suggest

Government regulators could more realistically assess the value of improving food safety if they considered the fact that consumers typically want to avoid getting sick -- even if it means they have to pay a little extra for safer food, researchers say.

The researchers conducted such a nation... Read More

Disorienting fungus fatal to bats

The nation’s bat population is under serious assault by a deadly fungus that first appeared in New York State in 2006.

“If we lose bats, we lose keystone species in some communities, predators that consume enormous numbers of insects, and beautiful wildlife species that are important parts of... Read More

Researchers turn Salmonella into anti-viral gene therapy agent

New experiments at the University of California, Berkeley, may one day lead to anti-viral treatments that involve swallowing Salmonella bacteria, effectively using one bug to stop another.

Researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health have reprogrammed Salmonella, the same foodborne pa... Read More

What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Immortal Micro-Organisms

Leave it to Darpa, the Pentagon’s advanced-research arm, to bring synthetic biology to a new level of creepiness.

For 2011, Darpa has dedicated $6 million to a new program called BioDesign, which according to the agency’s budget is an attempt to eliminate “the randomness of natural evolution... Read More

The Most Interesting Microbiology-related Papers of 2010

Elio Schaechter and Mark Martin of Small Things Considered asked friends and colleagues to point to papers published in 2010 that tickled their fancy.

Excerpt:

Margaret McFall-Ngai - I'd vote for the paper on Drosophila microbes affecting the fly's mating behavior. The story from Eugene R... Read More

Early success for universal flu vaccine

There are signs that one bid to create a universal flu vaccine that would provide protection against all strains of flu is working. And this one might pack some extra evolutionary aces up its sleeve.

The flu vaccines humanity now has at its disposal work only against a few kinds of flu, for a... Read More

Is it time to refer to mitochondria as bacteria?

In the article, Trends in Microbiology - Time to recognise that mitochondria are bacteria?, Pallen argues for giving mitochondria their own family w/in bacteria.

I think that would be a good idea as they are really just a highly reduced form of bacteria. We give endosymbionts, even those wit... Read More

Lamprey boasts refined immune system

The primitive, predatory lamprey has a surprisingly sophisticated immune system, possessing structures within its gills that play the same role as the thymus, the organ where T cells develop in mammals, birds, and fish.

The finding suggests that in vertebrate evolution, having two separate or... Read More

Close Look at a Flu Outbreak Upends Some Common Wisdom

If you or your child came down with influenza during the H1N1, or swine flu, outbreak in 2009, it may not have happened the way you thought it did.

A new study of a 2009 epidemic at a school in Pennsylvania has found that children most likely did not catch it by sitting near an infected clas... Read More

X-ray shows ‘thrilling’ biology in action

The world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser is taking remarkable “snapshots” of the inner life of proteins and viruses.

Two studies published in the journal Nature demonstrate the unique capabilities of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC Na... Read More

Official: 3 cholera victims in New York have recovered

Three people who contracted cholera at a wedding in the Dominican Republic before returning to New York have recovered, and the risk of their infecting anyone else is low, officials said Sunday.

None of the three adults had to be hospitalized, said Erin Brady, spokeswoman for New York's Healt... Read More
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