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Divide and Conquer: novel trick helps rare pathogen infect healthy people

New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body’s immune response against it.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have explained how a particular strain of a fungus, Crypto... Read More

Staph ‘gangs’ share nutrients during infection: study

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their “friends.”

The findings, reported Oct. 8 in... Read More

Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Amphibian communities collapse in wake of viral outbreak

Two closely related viruses that have been introduced to northern Spain in recent years have already led to the collapse of three different species of amphibian -- the common midwife toad, the common toad, and the alpine newt -- in the protected area of Picos de Europa National Park. In all, six... Read More

Primitive microbes stole bacterial genes on a surprising scale

A University of Otago researcher is part of an international team that has discovered that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) played a surprisingly large role in the evolution of primitive microbes known as archaea.

HGT, which involves acquiring genetic material from another unrelated organism in... Read More

Fine Reading: Trans-kingdom Cross Talk – Small RNAs on the Move

We have lived with the discovery of small RNAs as regulatory molecules for nearly 30 years, so for most readers of this blog this is old hat. But some of us oldsters are still reeling from the novelty and importance of the findings. It seems odd that a subject of this significance, one that has ... Read More

Bio-art: The Marriage of Art and Microorganisms

A short interview with artist Selin Balci on her use of microbes as an artistic medium. Here's a quote from the piece on SkyLife.com...

"Bio-art has not yet been defined in a way that is accepted by artists. Some artists, for example, make DNA models and call that BioArt. To me, BioArt has to... Read More

Scientists Discover First ‘Virological Penicillin’

Chinese researchers have discovered what they say is the first ‘virological penicillin’ – MIR2911, a molecule found naturally in a Chinese herb called honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a well-known Chinese herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to effectively tr... Read More

TWiM #89: Microbial handoffs

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our well-being is intimately linked to the health of animals.

The current Ebola epidemic probably got its start when someone came into contact with an infected animal, perhaps a monkey or a fruit bat. The virus causing Middle East respi... Read More

CDC Launches Ebola Response Team

In the two days since the second U.S. Ebola patient was diagnosed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled a new team to battle the threat of Ebola. This team has no steady lineup, but it will be deployed anywhere in the country that sees a new case of Ebola, CDC ... Read More

Study reveals how deadly MERS virus enters human cells

Cornell researchers have uncovered details of how the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters host cells, findings that help explain how it can infect many cell types – a hallmark of viral pathogenicity. The results also offer possible new avenues for treatment.

... Read More

Continuing Discussion on Gain of Function

Should scientific journals publish gain-of-function (GOF) studies, especially those involving pathogens with pandemic potential? While journal editors at the American Society for Microbiology have done so after careful consideration, some scientists expressed concern over that decision. A series... Read More

Bacterial defense policies

High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy has now revealed in unprecedented detail the structural changes in the bacterial ribosome which results in resistance to the antibiotic erythromycin.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Where Does Ebola Hide?

The people of Guinea have been locked in a life-and-death struggle with Ebola virus since last December. Nearly 60 percent of Guineans infected with the virus since then have died. To cope with the unprecedented disease, the government went so far as to ban soup made from bats.

Why bats? Bec... Read More

In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize.

But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning th... Read More

Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to und... Read More

Ebola Gorilla Vaccine Could Prevent Human Outbreaks

Humans are not the only primates ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus. Chimps and gorillas are also susceptible to the disease. The current Ebola epidemic, the biggest in human history, may have started with the butchering of an infected fruit bat. But it just as easily could have come from a chimp... Read More

Frozen Poop Pills Fight Life-Threatening Infections

Fecal transplants can be life-saving for people with stubborn bacterial infections, but they're not for the faint of heart. So doctors have come up with a way to make them more palatable – the frozen poop pill.

People infected with Clostridium difficile suffer debilitating diarrhea, but the b... Read More

Bioinspired coating for medical devices repels blood and bacteria

From joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, medical devices enhance or save lives on a daily basis. However, any device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges that can threaten the life of the patient the device is meant to hel... Read More

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