While walking through your house, you drop a granola bar you were eating. Quick – do you pick it up and eat it? Is the ground too dirty to eat from? Does the amount of time the food sits on the ground matter? Will more microbes gather onto the snack as you decide whether or not to continue noshi... Read More
Microbial communities are essential drivers of soil functional processes such as nitrification and heterotrophic respiration. Although there is initial evidence revealing the importance of soil type in shaping microbial communities, there has been no in-depth, comprehensive survey to robustly es... Read More
Need the perfect holiday gift for the microbiologist in your life? We’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of 50 awesome microbiology related gift ideas. It’s like Oprah’s Favorite Things, only with more bacteria! Check it out and show your microbe-lovers how much you care this holiday season.... Read More
In this month's episode of the science show This Week in Evolution, Nels and I discuss the evolution of butterfly wing patterns. In this study of Amazonian butterflies, the authors show that distinct patterns are a consequence of enhancer shuffling. Enhancers are DNA sequences that control trans... Read More
My undergraduate student Ruth Isenberg has made real progress adapting a GoPro camera to help us watch microbial interactions. Here are two swimming foci of Photobacterium leignothi encountering one another! Read More
Single-celled organisms called bacterioplankton spend their lives drifting in open ocean, visible to the naked eye only en masse. But don't be fooled by their slight size: These minuscule critters play a hefty role in the carbon cycle. Heterotrophic microbes, by some estimates, process half of t... Read More
Many components of our oral hygiene regimens are meant to keep cariogenic bacteria at bay: sodium fluoride in ACT interferes with electron transport and ATP synthesis, the essential oils in Listerine have antiseptic effects, and abrasives – small, insoluble particles in toothpaste – help remove ... Read More
In the year 2000, Kathleen Alexander, DVM, PhD, now a professor, at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, was working as a government veterinarian in Botswana, when a sickly banded mongoose wandered onto the grounds where she worked. When the mamm... Read More
Exposure to reactive oxygen species, exposure to ionizing radiation, exposure to UV light – all of these are dangerous because of their potential to alter DNA sequences. Changes in DNA can affect a protein coding sequence, potentially influencing its function, but changes in regulatory regions c... Read More
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be the easiest way to make a buck. That’s the primary motivation for camouflaging within an already-established brand: Sunbucks, McDowell’s, and Mountain Lightening all rely on brand recognition – of a brand that isn’t their own. W... Read More
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., scientist Stacey Schultz-Cherry has been studying the impact of obesity on influenza severity.
“We saw during the 2009 flu pandemic that there’s an epidemiological link between people getting severe flu and being obese,” says Schultz... Read More
There’s no way to avoid the news of a growing concern for drug-resistant infections. In both life-threatening and relatively superficial infections, the ability to successfully treat microbial infections with antimicrobials is decreasing. Our only recourse is to use the drugs we have carefully w... Read More
Polio returns to Nigeria, Zika virus spreads in Miami, and virus infection of plants attracts bumblebees for pollination, from the virus gentlepeople at TWiV.
A common denizen of the undergraduate microbiology laboratory, Serratia marcescens is well known for the production of a bright red pigment, prodigiosin. Prodigiosin has been investigated over many years for its possible antimicrobial, antifungal, and even antitumor effects. Still, the relevan... Read More
Function is often thought of as the tradeoff for high fashion, but who says you can’t have both? Fawn Jordan, 2016-2017 DC Fashion Incubator Designer in Residence, is seeking to unite the two to help protect women against potentially Zika-transmitting mosquitoes. Her recent collection combines t... Read More
Some of the most popular segments at conferences, such as Microbe 2016 coming up in in Jun, are those that give continuing medical education (CME) credit to participants. These CME credits are an important part of being an active medical professional: they keep participants current on best pract... Read More
Microbiome research has revealed that there are good guy and bad guy bacteria living together in complex communities on our skin, in our mouths, throughout our guts and pretty much everywhere in between. But what do you call a good guy bacterium that is aiding and abetting a disease culprit?
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The TWiXers discuss a study on vertical transmission of Zika virus by Aedes mosquitoes, and uncovering Earth's virome by mining existing metagenomic sequence data.
There’s no question that foodborne disease is a serious problem. Illnesses from contaminated foods cause over 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans suffers a food-related illne... Read More