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The Microbes Living in Our Bodies Were Probably Once Evil Pathogens

Like pretty much all multi-cellular organisms, humans enjoy the benefits of helpful bacteria. (As you may have heard, there are more bacteria in the human body than cells.) These mutualistic microbes live within the body of a larger organism, and, like any good long-term houseguest, help out the... Read More

Black silicon slices and dices bacteria

Originally discovered by accident in the 1980s, black silicon is silicon with a surface that has been modified to feature nanoscale spike structures which give the material very low reflectivity. Researchers have now found that these spikes can also destroy a wide range of bacteria, potentially ... Read More

TWiM #69: Bacterial DNA in the human genome

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloElio SchaechterJo Handelsman and Read More

TWiM 69 Letters

Gian writes:


Beloved TWiMers,


Did you see this paper in PLoS Computational Biology? It's mind-blowing. U. Maryland researchers found evidence for Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas nucleic acid integrated into human chromosomes and mitochondria, po... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 144 - Copper Chelator Calms Quicksilver

This episode: Bacteria could reduce mercury's toxicity in their environment!


(6.5 MB, 7 minutes)


Methanotrophs (bacteria that use methane for their carbon and energy) secrete siderophore-like compounds that are usually used to chelate copper and make it more bioavailable, but ... Read More

How Your Morning Commute Resembles a Fungus

In many fungi, the DNA storage compartments called nuclei are not prisoners of the cells they reside in, the way they are in animals and plants. Instead, fungal nuclei are free to move about the cabin. They flow through the joined, tube-shaped cells of fungi like busy commuters, and experience m... Read More

Scientists zero in on flu virus defences

Scientists have just got a clearer picture of the defences used by a key influenza virus to evade our immune system.

The findings reported today in the journal Science could lead to a new research approach in the holy grail of developing vaccines before new flu viruses evolve.

Influenza A/... Read More

Chemotherapy: when our intestinal bacteria provide reinforcement

Research jointly conducted by investigators at Institut Gustave Roussy, Inserm, Institut Pasteur and INRA (French National Agronomic Research Institute) has led to a rather surprising discovery on the manner in which cancer chemotherapy treatments act more effectively with the help of the intest... Read More

Merseyside red squirrels show signs of pox resistance

Red squirrels at a National Trust reserve in Merseyside have shown signs of resistance to the pox virus that has blighted the species, say researchers.

Scientists from the University of Liverpool have studied the squirrels at the Formby site for four years.

They found that 10% of its squir... Read More

Anti-fungal drug increases flu susceptibility

Researchers have found that a commonly used anti-fungal treatment increases susceptibility to severe influenza infection in mice. This treatment deactivates an important protein that protects against viral infections such as influenza.

Amphotericin B is an important anti-fungal treatment for ... Read More

Scientists think mysterious virus could be a signal of a weak immune system

Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.

More than 260,000 Americans are alive today thanks to transplant operations that have replaced their failing kidneys, hearts, lungs or livers with hea... Read More

Fine Reading: Exploring the Microbial Dark Matter

We live in a world run by microbes, the vast majority of which we have yet to identify or name. We can only refer to them collectively as the microbial dark matter (MDM). However you define a prokaryotic species, and however you tally them once identified, there is a huge gap between the 12,000 ... Read More

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus

On a sunny day in 1998, Maura Gillison was walking across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, thinking about a virus. The young oncologist bumped into the director of the university's cancer centre, who asked politely about her work. Gillison described her discovery of... Read More

State Parks celebrates 10 years of Kartchner Caverns Big Room tours

Deep inside the dark, damp caves of Kartchner Caverns State Park lies something that sounds more suited to a fairy tale than to a rock formation.

The so-called Big Room holds the world’s largest formation of brushite moonmilk — sometimes called “elf’s milk” — a sparkling white, creamy-looking... Read More

Bio-artist colors textiles with deadly bacteria and antibiotics

Would you cuddle up with a quilt stained with MRSA? Artist Anna Dumitriu challenges the relationship between humans and bacteria by staining textiles with superbugs.

As part of her artist's residency on the UK Clinical Research Consortium Project “Modernising Medical Microbiology” at the Univ... Read More

Bright future for Waikato microbiology graduate

While studying for a PhD at the University of Waikato graduate Ron Xavier discovered a passion for communicating complex science to the public.

Thanks to the collaborative work he completed during a University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship in microbiology, Ron is now employed by AgResearch ... Read More

FDA approves first adjuvanted vaccine for prevention of H5N1 avian influenza

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza, commonly known as avian or bird flu. The vaccine, Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent Vaccine, Adjuvanted, is for use in people 18 years of age and older who are at increased r... Read More

Changing influenza virus neuraminidase into a receptor binding protein

The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) glycoproteins of the influenza virus particle serve distinct functions during infection. The HA binds sialic acid-containing cellular receptors and mediates fusion of the viral and cell membranes, while the NA removes sialic acids from glycoproteins.... Read More

TWiV 260: Badgers go viral

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Host: Vincent Racaniello


Guests: Read More

Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from new virus

Saudi Arabia says one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 55 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak.

The Health Ministry said Sunday that the 37-year-old man died in Riyadh. He was among 130 people who have been infected wi... Read More

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