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THE RIDDLE OF THE R.I.D.L _ Zika virus Comics (Playlist)

In Zanzare, the new comic from Cimaza (www.cimazacomics.com/), we are plunged head-first into the global mystery of the Zika virus. We meet the mosquitoes (in Italian: zanzare) implicated in its spread; but the insects plead their innocence, saying it's all a misunderstanding. They lay their cas... Read More

Are Viruses Alive?

Plenty of people have weighed in on the question, 'Are Viruses Alive?' Here is my answer - different from all the others. Read More

A microbial mystery in the Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is different than other deserts: it has an unusual geographic feature that differentiates it from most others. This desert (map, right) is where you can find ‘fairy circles,’ or circular areas absent of growth in an already plant-scarce environment. These deadened circles are su... Read More

Phage diffusion on a bacterial lawn: not all plaques are created equal

Like us, bacteria have their own microbial attackers, in the form of bacteria-specific viruses called bacteriophage, or phage. These phage come in a variety of flavors but can be broadly categorized into virulent, which immediately begin to replicate and lyse (burst) the infected cell quickly, a... Read More

TWiM #139: Frackibacter and sticky fingers

The TWiM team discusses microbial DNA found on ATM machines in New York City, and how hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, alters microbial ecosystems deep in the Earth.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, Elio Schaechter, and Michele Swanson.


{audio}This Week in Mi... Read More

Scientists, share your Zika virus reagents!

Today I learned that a number of investigators refuse to share their samples of Zika virus with other laboratories.

There are countless stories about scientists not sharing reagents because they want to be the first to make a discovery. This behavior allows them to publish first, secure more ... Read More

Dispatches from ASM Microbe - Sunday

We’ve had a whirlwind of amazing talks, poster sessions, and networking sessions so far at ASM Microbe 2016. In our previous two Dispatches from ASM Microbe, we’ve covered microbiomes, for which research ranges from extremely basic (Which microbes are present? How do we quantify them?) to clinic... Read More

E. coli, Salmonella, and Norovirus - oh my!

This upcoming Monday, Chipotle restaurants across the country will close as its employees discuss food safety and safe food handling. The restaurant was in the news throughout the last half of 2015, beginning with an outbreak of E. coli in Seattle (which was kept secret!), followed by another E.... Read More

Changing the mindset of a pathogen-based vaccine

It’s hard to turn on the news at the moment and not hear about the latest emerging disease, Zika. The filovirus joins a cadre of infectious diseases spread by arthropod vectors – meaning the disease is passed between infected individuals via insect bites. A long list of microbes are spread this ... Read More

Top secret, viruses with RNA genomes!

Today it is well known that viruses may contain DNA (poxvirus, mimivirus) or RNA (influenza virus, Zika virus), but for many years it was thought that genomes were only made of DNA. The surprise at finding only RNA in a virus is plainly evident in a 1953 letter from Harriett Ephrussi-Taylor to J... Read More

Catching Ebola virus in the act of fusion

Since the first outbreak of Ebola virus in 1976, the frequency and scale of the deadly disease’s outbreaks have increased. The 2014-2015 outbreak in West Africa caused 11,000 deaths, precipitated panic at airports and emergency rooms worldwide, and renewed the urgency to find cures.


Kartik ... Read More

New bat gammaherpesvirus may help understand bats' role in zoonoses

Many emerging viruses (such as SARS-CoV, Ebola virus, and the Henipavirus genus) are thought to have zoonotic reservoirs in the regional bat populations. Bats offer a threat to spreading these viruses because their flight capacity makes them readily mobile. Also, there are a whole lot of them: w... Read More

MMP #13: Redetermining the ratio of microbial to human cells – correcting the widely held view that this ratio is 10 to 1

Host: Jeff Fox with special guests, Ron Milo and Shai Fuchs.


Ron Milo of Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and Shai Fuchs at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, talk with Jeff Fox about their efforts, with Ron Sender at Weizmann, to redetermine the ratio... Read More

BacterioFiles 276 - Single-cell Slime School

This episode: Individual slime molds show the ability to learn about their environment!


(8.8 MB, 9.6 minutes)


Show notes: 


News item... Read More

Zika virus, like all other viruses, is mutating

Not long after the appearance of an outbreak of viral disease, first scientists, and then newswriters, blame it all on mutation of the virus. It happened during the Ebolavirus outbreak in West Africa, and now it’s happening with Zika virus.

The latest example is by parasitologist Peter Hotez,... Read More

Magnetotactic bacteria remove and recover rare elements

While our human biochemical reactions are limited, our ingenuity is not, and scientists are able to exploit microbes for our benefit, such as in chemical spills. Using microbes to degrade or sequester toxic molecules is one form of bioremediation, and has many various applications. Famously, sci... Read More

BacterioFiles 279 - Hijacker Heightened Hyphal Heterogeneity

This episode: Fungi control their cell's growth and division with a protein from a virus, unlike all other kinds of eukaryote!


(8.9 MB, 9.75 minutes)


Show notes: 


Read More

Congenital Zika Syndrome

Data from several clinical studies in Brazil establish a strong link between infection of pregnant women with Zika virus and a variety of birth defects collectively called congenital Zika syndrome.

In the latest study conducted in Rio de Janeiro, the authors enrolled 88 pregnant women who had... Read More

A role for siderophores in Klebsiella pneumoniae pathogenesis

Despite increasing awareness of Klebsiella pneumoniae as a public health risk, there has been relatively little understood about its mechanisms of pathogenesis.

The bacterium, estimated to be the third most common cause of hospital-acquired infections in the United States in a recent study, c... Read More

TWiV 415: Ebola pipettors and the philosopher's clone

Jeremy, Aaron, and Ted join the TWiV team to discuss their work on identifying a single amino acid change in the Ebola virus glycoprotein from the West African outbreak that increases infectivity in human cells.


Hosts:  Read More

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