Leaf-cutter ants, which use leaves to raise a fungal crop to support a colony of millions, seem to have discovered farming long before humans evolved. They may also have beaten us to natural pesticides by a comfortable margin.
Although it's not possible to assign a date to the ants' latter di... Read More
Superantigens, the toxins produced by staphylococcus bacteria, are more complex than previously believed, reveals a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in an article published November 28 in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Their discovery shows that the body's imm... Read More
On episode #109 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent visits Mexico City and speaks with Rosa Maria del Angel and Ana Lorena Gutiérrez about virology in Mexico, and their work on dengue and ... Read More
HIV drugs given prophylactically can significantly reduce the risk of infection, a new clinical trial says. Those findings, announced Tuesday, have been the talk of the country for the past two days. Now comes the time to reflect on the findings.
Here's the original Los Angeles Times story "P... Read More
A suspected case of cholera has landed in Miami. The disease has killed some 2,000 people and put 30,000 others in hospitals in Haiti.
The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) confirms that a man fell ill with cholera-like symptoms Thanksgiving Day while on an American Airlines flight from Santo... Read More
Earlier this year, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute reported in the journal Science that they had designed and created a synthetic chromosome which they transplanted into a living cell. The living cell created new cells which are controlled only by the synthetic chromosome. The experi... Read More
Dr. W. Ian Lipkin was spending the afternoon prowling his empire of viruses. The Center for Infection and Immunity, which he directs, occupies three floors of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Rather than wait for the elevator, Lipkin ran up and down the back stairs to ... Read More
Boston University researchers have developed a simple diagnostic tool that can quickly identify dangerous viruses like Ebola and Marburg. The biosensor, which is the size of a quarter and can detect viruses in a blood sample, could be used in developing nations, airports and other places where n... Read More
The quest to squeeze more and more data into ever smaller spaces continues, but current materials and techniques have their limits. One day in the not too distant future we will reach the limits of current hard drive technology.
So where do we look for the next storage breakthrough? If you as... Read More
Usually we hear about E. coli bacteria when there's an outbreak of food poisoning. But now a group of engineers have turned these disease-causing bugs into a "production platform" for antibiotics.
Genetic engineers have been trying for a while to tweak the genes of E. coli so that they'll pro... Read More
A common group of bacteria found in acid bogs and sewage treatment plants has provided scientists with evidence of a 'missing link' in one of the most important steps in the evolution of life on Earth -- the emergence of cells with a nucleus containing DNA (eukaryotic cells).
For billions of ... Read More
In a heroic act of sacrifice, HIV-infected white blood cells known as T cells self-destruct to prevent proliferation of the virus, according to a new study. Unfortunately, their sacrifice is in vain, as the mass die-off of T cells debilitates the body's immune system, resulting in the immune dis... Read More
A new study has pointed out that infants are more efficient at digesting milk than adults due to a difference in the strains of bacteria that dominate their digestive tracts.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and Utah State University have identified the genes that are mos... Read More
Jillian Banfield trades in hell holes. In September, she could be found wading through the dark, hot, sulphurous innards of Richmond Mine at Iron Mountain, California, where blue stalactites ooze the most acidic water ever discovered, with a pH of −3.6. A year before that, she was pumping up a t... Read More
Denmark has had its first case of infection with a New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) superbug, reports Politiken newspaper.
NDM-1 has caused major concern in European countries as such bacteria are resistant to conventional antibiotics.
The patient concerned is a 57-year-old woman... Read More
Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have reported the first successful production of the antibiotic erythromycin A, and two variations, using E. coli as the production host.
The work, published in the November 24, 2010, issue of Chemistry and Biology, offers a more cost-effe... Read More
Natgure, 25 November 2010, has a fascinating article by Lizzie Buchen on a collaboration among Jill Banfield (UC Berkeley), a geologist, Michael Morowitz (University of Pittsburgh), a neonatal surgeon, and David Relman (Stanford University), a pioneer in the field of microbiome studies, to apply... Read More
Today NASA officials announced that a tiny satellite launched last week has started conducting astrobiology experiments in low-Earth orbit.
No bigger than a bread box, the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses, or O/OREOS, satellite lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska ... Read More
Scientists at Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have solved a long-standing mystery about HIV infection–namely how HIV promotes the death of CD4 T cells. It is the loss of this critical subset of immune cells that leads to the development of AIDS. Most immune cells that die during H... Read More
The epidemic in Haiti could easily get worse despite efforts to control it, say the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (PAHO).
Dr. Scott Dowell infectious disease specialist said "with regard to the eradication of cholera in Haiti, we have little hope ... Read More