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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

2012 Salmonella Illness Linked to Microbiology Class

On May 30, 2012 Brianna Dannen, Public Health Nurse at the Clark County Health District (CCHD), received a call from Bob Williamson at Clark College. Mr. Williamson called to report that a child of a Clark College student enrolled in a microbiology class, BIOL&260, taught by Travis Kibota was i... Read More

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

Paper Test Quickly Detects Ebola, Dengue, And Yellow Fever

Researchers in the US have developed a silver nanoparticle-based paper test to simultaneously detect dengue, yellow fever and Ebola. This could provide a cheap and reliable diagnosis for all three diseases, that’s as quick as a home pregnancy test.

The test is made from strips of paper contai... Read More

Too much of a good thing: Extra genes make bacteria lethal

We, as most animals, host many different beneficial bacteria. Being beneficial to the host often pays off for the bacteria, as success of the host determines the survival and spread of the microbe. But if bacteria grow too much they may become deadly. In a new study published in the latest editi... Read More

Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes’ sexual biology

Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and University of Perugia, Italy. Through analysis of 16 Anopheles genomes, they found that these... Read More

A new understanding of Alzheimer’s

Although natural selection is often thought of as a force that determines the adaptation of replicating organisms to their environment, Harvard researchers have found that selection also occurs at the level of neurons, which are post-mitotic cells, and plays a critical role in the emergence of A... Read More

Rust preserves fossils from early Earth

Since life originated on Earth between 3.8 and 3.9 Ga ago, microorganisms have significantly shaped and influenced the chemistry of Earth’s surface and subsurface environments. Reconstructing the evolution of early microbial life depends mainly on finding organic and mineral remnants of microbia... Read More

Your Immune System Is Made, Not Born

In one of the most comprehensive analyses of immune function performed to date, researchers analyzed blood samples from 105 sets of healthy twins. They measured immune cell populations and their chemical messengers—204 parameters in all—before and after participants received a flu shot. Differen... 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

Mutant Bacteria That Keep on Growing

The typical Escherichia coli, the laboratory rat of microbiology, is a tiny 1-2 thousandths of a millimeter long. Now, by blocking cell division, two researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have grown E. coli that stretch three quarters of a millimeter. That's up to 750 times their norma... 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

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

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

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

Infections With Dangerous Gut Microbe Still On The Rise

A potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal infection is more common than previously estimated, federal health officials reported Wednesday.

The infection, caused by a bacterium known as Clostridium difficile, or C-diff, causes nearly 500,000 illnesses in the United States each year and k... Read More

Bacteria in marine sponges harvest phosphorus for reef community

Significant accumulations of polyphosphate granules have been found in three common sponge species of the Caribbean coral reef, indicating that microorganisms that live on marine sponges are pulling phosphorus out of the water to feed themselves and survive in a deep-water environment where very... Read More

Widely used food additives promotes colitis, obesity and metabolic syndrome, shows study of emulsifiers

Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter the gut microbiota composition and localization to induce intestinal inflammation that promotes the development of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome, new research shows.

Click ... Read More

Ebolavirus will not become a respiratory pathogen

An otherwise balanced review of selected aspects of Ebolavirus transmission falls apart when the authors hypothesize that ‘Ebola viruses have the potential to be respiratory pathogens with primary respiratory spread.’

The idea that Ebolavirus might become transmitted by the respiratory route ... Read More
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