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'Immortal' flatworms: Weapon against bacteria

A novel mode of defense against bacteria, such as the causal agent of tuberculosis or Staphylococcus aureus, has been identified in humans by studying a small, aquatic flatworm, the planarian. This discovery highlights the importance of studying alternative model organisms, and opens the way tow... Read More

Genomic and Cellular Complexity from Symbiotic Simplicity

The more that biologists study symbiotic microorganisms and their vast influence on animals, the more nature’s networkism unfolds in a continuum at different biological scales. In this issue, Van Leuven et al. illuminate how a stable and longstanding animal-microbe mutualism increased its interg... Read More

Synthetic Fabrics Host More Stench-Producing Bacteria (podcast)

Micrococcus bacteria thrive on the open-air lattice of synthetic fibers--where they sit chomping on the fatty acids in our sweat, turning them into shorter, stinkier molecules. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Click "source" to listen to podcast. Read More

Vaginal Microbe Yields Novel Antibiotic

Bacteria living on human bodies contain genes that are likely to code for a vast number of drug-like molecules — including a new antibiotic made by bacteria that live in the vagina, researchers report in this week's issue of Cell.

The drug, lactocillin, hints at the untapped medical potential... Read More

Catching Up, Part I: Meeting with Former Research Students at ASM in Boston in May.

In this post, I meet up with six of my former undergraduate students at the General Meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in Boston last May. We had a great dinner where we could catch up on challenges and cheer each other on. I am very proud of the great students in this post, who a... Read More

Dandruff-Causing Skin Fungi Discovered Unexpectedly in Deep Sea Vents, Antarctica

Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude.

... Read More

Avian influenza virus isolated in harbor seals poses a threat to humans

A study led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists found the avian influenza A H3N8 virus that killed harbor seals along the New England coast can spread through respiratory droplets and poses a threat to humans. The research appears in the current issue of the scientific journal Na... Read More

An outbreak of enterovirus 68

During the winter of 1962 in California, a new virus was isolated from the oropharynx of 4 children who had been hospitalized with respiratory disease that included pneumonia and bronchiolitis. On the basis of its physical, chemical, and biological properties, the virus was classified as an ente... 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

Knowing how bacteria take out trash could lead to new antibiotics

A team of scientists has reconstructed how bacteria tightly control their growth and division, the cell cycle, by destroying specific proteins through regulated protein degradation. All organisms use controlled protein degradation to alter cell behavior in response to changing environment. A pro... Read More

MDR Infection Risk Rises With Each Hospital Day

Extended stays in hospital appeared to increase the risk of infection with a multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogen, researchers said.

In a single-center study, the risk of such infection rose by 1% for every day in hospital, according to Tonya Smith, PharmD, of the University of Utah.

... Read More

Cancer Survivor Saved by Measles Virus Raises Funds for Expanded Trial

After battling blood cancer for 10 years, Stacy Erholtz has no signs of the disease, thanks to an experimental treatment that used an engineered version of the measles virus.

Now, a year after finishing her treatment, the 50-year-old mother of three is transitioning from patient to advocate, ... Read More

One Dose of Flu Drug Shortens Fever

A single dose of an investigational influenza drug was able to reduce the duration of fever and viral shedding, researchers said here.

In a combined analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials, the neuraminidase inhibitor peramivir (Rapivab), given by injection within 48 hours of sym... 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

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

This Bizarre Organism Builds Itself a New Genome Every Time It Has Sex

Oxytricha trifallax lives in ponds all over the world. Under an electron microscope it looks like a football adorned with tassels. The tiny fringes are the cilia it uses to move around and gobble up algae. What makes Oxytricha unusual, however, is the crazy things it does with its DNA.

Unlike... Read More

How evolutionary principles could help save our world

The age of the Anthropocene--the scientific name given to our current geologic age--is dominated by human impacts on our environment. A warming climate. Increased resistance of pathogens and pests. A swelling population. Coping with these modern global challenges requires application of what one... Read More

Researchers Unlock the Genetic Code of Cancer-Causing Liver Fluke Parasite

An international team of scientists from Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia has cracked the genetic code of the liver fluke parasite, Opisthorchis viverrini, using a unique DNA analysis technique developed at A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS).

GIS’s DNA analysis technique ha... Read More

Self-Assembly For Me

I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificen... Read More

How I Learned to Think Like a Mushroom

We need fungal Solutions to Pollution, Global Pandemics, and Starvation, says Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist and professional mycologist.

I have been studying mushrooms, inside and out, macroscopically and microscopically, for the past 22 years. At times I imagine myself deep into their chemi... Read More
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