When the human body becomes infected with new influenza viruses, the immune system rapidly activates an inborn protective mechanism to inhibit the intruding pathogen. A protein known as Mx plays an important role in this process, keeping the spread of viruses in check. Exactly how Mx accomplishe... Read More
It has been estimated that approximately one hundred trillion bacteria colonize the human intestine. That’s about ten times the number of cells that constitute the entire human body. These bacteria are believed to have a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with their hosts. What is known about th... Read More
Bacteria in the ocean can harvest light energy from sunlight to promote survival thanks to a unique photoprotein.
This novel finding by a team of scientists in Sweden and Spain is published in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.
"It was long thought that phytoplankton were the on... Read More
An update on a piece of news we brought listeners almost two weeks ago: Lactococcus lactis, the little cheese-maker microbe, has failed to become the Wisconsin state microbe. Though it passed the state Assembly, the bill that would make Lactococcus the state microbe was not picked up by the Sena... Read More
Species: Symbion pandora
Habitat: In the eastern Atlantic Ocean – on the mouthparts of Norway lobsters (also known as Dublin Bay prawns or langoustines)
There's no question that discovering a new species is very cool. But how about discovering a new phylum?
A phylum is a broad division ... Read More
Microscopic fossils from the dried-up seabed of the Mediterranean have led space scientists to seek similar evidence of ancient life in the red sands of Mars, where the rover named Opportunity is now exploring.
The scientists said they are impressed by the unexpected discovery of 6-million-ye... Read More
This article comes from New Scientist writer Debora MacKenzie, winner of the 2010 ASM Public Communications Award. Read more about the award and her winning entry here. And now on to the article...
When Randy Cortright of the University of Wisconsin found an aromatic fluid floating in his beaker that smelled just like gasoline, he thought he had a problem. After all, the chemical engineer wanted to make fuel from plants for the hydrogen economy that was supposed to boom about now. Instead... Read More
Dozens of babies and young children, mostly in Western Australia and Queensland, have suffered adverse reactions after having the flu shot, including fevers and convulsions.
And the Queensland Coroner is investigating the death of a two-year-old Brisbane girl, found dead in her cot a day afte... Read More
Ten people on Oahu recently became ill with a rare type of salmonella after eating imported raw ahi tuna that was previously frozen, state health officials reported.
The salmonella Paratyphi B cases occurred between Feb. 27 and April 6 in people ranging in age from 5 to 35, said Janice Okubo,... Read More
The first whole genome sequencing of a pair of identical twins has uncovered little about the origins of disease - even though only one twin has multiple sclerosis (MS).
Identical twins inherit identical genomes but are exposed to different environmental influences. That means they can be eno... Read More
"Almost half of the ocean’s carbon fixation is done by eukaryotic phytoplankton, despite the fact that their presence is significantly less than the more abundant blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria, that grow in vast numbers in the sunlit surface waters of the oceans (the ... Read More
While most of the dead material in the ocean is recycled by bacteria, lipids are tough, fat-like molecules that "tend to be the least desirable to eat," says Everett Shock, a biogeochemist at Arizona State University. They generally get passed up and fall to the seafloor, where they become burie... Read More
New York City isn't exactly an oasis for wildlife, but its public-health officials are all too familiar with zoonotic diseases, which jump from animals to humans. Ten years before H1N1 erupted among students and killed a principal at an intermediate school in Queens, N.Y., another mysterious ill... Read More
You may cower in disgust when someone sneezes near you, but just seeing that person may make your immune system prepare for battle, a new study suggests.
Research published in the journal Psychological Science found that when people viewed a slide show of photos depicting symptoms of infectio... Read More
Too many American children do not receive recommended childhood vaccines for illnesses such as polio, measles, mumps, diphtheria and pertussis that were once thought to have been eradicated but are making a comeback in some areas. According to data from 2008, almost one-quarter of children ages ... Read More
Seems the microbes we share spaceship Earth with have figured out the best way to run a low-cost, no frills space program. Makes me wonder if bacteria from Buzz Aldrin (met him one time & shook his hand, so in a sense, I've gotten closer to the Moon than a lotta folks!) or Neil Armstrong are se... Read More
The Pap test has been enormously successful at reducing cervical cancer deaths, but it can miss early signs of malignancy, allowing undetected cases to become invasive.
New research from a large-scale screening program shows that testing the DNA from the human papillomavirus (HPV) in a sample... Read More
Days before travelers worldwide are to begin arriving for Shanghai’s world exposition, China has lifted a two-decade ban on travel to the country by people who carry the virus that causes AIDS or who have other sexually transmitted diseases.
The action also removed a longstanding ban on tra... Read More
The use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections causes a continual and vicious cycle in which antibiotic treatment leads to the emergence and spread of resistant strains, forcing the use of additional drugs leading to further multi-drug resistance.
But what if it doesn't have to be that ... Read More