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U.N. experts warn of 'critical knowledge gaps' on Saudi MERS virus

Saudi Arabia has not done enough to investigate and control a deadly new MERS virus that has killed hundreds of people there and remains in many ways a mystery, United Nations health experts said on Monday.

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are surging again, but Saudi health o... Read More

The deadly, new "Bourbon virus" was just discovered in the US

A mysterious illness that seems to have killed a farmer in Kansas has led to the discovery of a new virus last week: the Bourbon virus.

The farmer had been working on his field last spring when he got several tick bites, including one that appeared to be attached to his shoulder. A few days l... Read More

Swine flu claims 800 lives across India, Ahmedabad prohibits mass gatherings

Killer swine flu attacks India. It’s H1N1, the same strain which was responsible for 1918 Spanish and 2009 flu pandemic that was the deadliest natural disasters in human history. More than 11,000 cases have been reported in India. The death toll has risen to more than 700. Number of death and in... Read More

Bacteria exchange food via nanotubes

Bacteria typically thrive in communities where colonies of many different species collaborate and support each other's growth and exchange nutrients.

However, it has not been clear whether they do this only by releasing the metabolites into the cell environment for their neighbors to pick up,... Read More

Your Soap Has Bacteria In It, But It Still Gets You Clean

Bacteria are everywhere on your skin, hair and eyelashes, to name a few of their homes. Bacteria are even in your soap, the very thing you thought washed all the bacteria away.

As long as the bacteria keep their numbers small, there's nothing wrong with them living in soap. But every once in ... Read More

Jessica Green: Good germs make healthy buildings. TEDtalks (video)

Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes -- some good for us, some bad for us, and some just along for the ride. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environme... Read More

Small Loop in Human Prion Protein Prevents Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) — an infectious disease caused by prions — affects North American elk and deer, but has not been observed in humans. Using a mouse model that expresses an altered form of the normal human prion protein, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Me... Read More

Ocean acidification slows algae growth in the Southern Ocean

In a recent study, scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), demonstrate for the first time that ocean acidification could have negative impacts on diatoms in the Southern Ocean. In laboratory tests they were able to observe that under chan... Read More

Parasitism runs deep in malaria's family tree

The ancestors of a large family of parasites—including those that cause malaria—were equipped to become parasites much earlier in their lineage than previously assumed, according to University of British Columbia (UBC) research.

The work, published in PNAS, traces the emergence of parasitism ... Read More

Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses

Mycorrhizal fungi live in the roots of host plants, where they exchange sugars that plants produce by photosynthesis for mineral nutrients that fungi absorb from the soil. They include some of the most conspicuous forest mushrooms, including the iconic, flaming red “fly agaric,” Amanita muscaria... Read More

Molecule hijacks enzyme to boost alcohol metabolism

An experimental compound empowers an enzyme to help process acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of alcohol, according to new research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The findings, now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), ... Read More

Caring for People Infected with Ebola: Stories from the Frontlines


Call for Stories
Caring for People Infected with Ebola: Stories from the Frontlines
Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from individuals who have been at the frontlines of healthcare for Ebola patients—whether as healthcare workers, family caregivers,... Read More

Why drinking blood doesn’t make mosquitoes sick.

While it’s easy to think about mosquitoes as a mere portal for shuttling malaria and other diseases from one person to another, the insects have their own immune response to infection.

After sucking down a blood meal, mosquitoes ramp up production of immune system proteins to fight off potent... Read More

Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms

When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes – the plants they normally serve, researchers report in a new study.

These findings, reported in the journal Evolution, may be of little interest to... Read More

Gerbils and Silk Road to blame for plague

Most would choose the cuddly gerbil over the much-maligned rat. But the latter's bad reputation may not be fully deserved. Central Asian rodents, not rats, prospering under warm variations in climate, could have been to blame for the arrival of the Black Death in Europe in 1347 and for repeated ... Read More

Were early seas transformed by sponge microbiome?

If ever there was proof of the power of small things, surely this is it. Last year, came the suggestion that sponges transformed Earth's deep oceans 750 million years ago, turning them into an oxygen-rich haven for life. Now it seems tiny bacteria living inside the sponges also played a part in ... Read More

BacterioFiles 203 - P. putida Promotes Plant Pollutant Purification

This episode: Bacteria living in plants could help plants clean up cancer-causing pollutants!


(6.9 MB, 7.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item<... Read More

TWiP 83 letters


Robin writes:


Malaria: shaking chills & fever (followed by sweats, not specifically mentioned in this case), is a characteristic of malaria that is unforgettable once one has had it (I had malaria four times).


Thick blood smears is de rigueur.
So... Read More

TWiP 83: Hidden costs of infection

Vincent, Dickson, and Daniel present a new case study, and discuss the effect of chronic malaria infection on wild warbler life span and telomere degradation.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

TWiV 325: Wildcats go viral

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello


Guests: Rollie Clem and Lorena Passarelli


{audio... Read More

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