Many double-stranded DNA viruses infect cells by ejecting their genetic information into a host cell. But how does the usually rigid DNA packaged inside a virus' shell flow from the virus to the cell?
In two separate studies, Carnegie Mellon University biophysicist Alex Evilevitch has shown t... Read More
Infections with the intestinal superbug C. difficile nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010 in US hospitals without noticeable improvement in patient mortality rates or hospital lengths of stay, according to a study of 2.2 million C. difficile infection cases.
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The long-observed association between pneumonia and heart failure now has more physical evidence, thanks to research in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The researchers found proof that Streptococcus pneumoniae, the leading cause of comm... Read More
Genetically manipulated yeast can produce morphine, which could help get around the problems with poppy crops, which include climate, disease and war. Karen Hopkin reports.
Yeast. They already participate in producing some of the most popular pain-killing substances around: beer and wine. Now... Read More
A Virginia Tech geobiologist with collaborators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found evidence in the fossil record that complex multicellularity appeared in living things about 600 million years ago – nearly 60 million years before skeletal animals appeared during a huge growth spurt ... Read More
New adhesives based on mussel proteins could be useful for naval or medical applications.
Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designe... Read More
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our well-being is intimately linked to the health of animals.
The current Ebola epidemic probably got its start when someone came into contact with an infected animal, perhaps a monkey or a fruit bat. The virus causing Middle East respi... Read More
"If you want to find unique diversity and if you want to find a wide range of different below-ground organisms, you don't have to travel around the world. You can walk across Central Park."
That statement comes from Noah Fierer, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor at the University ... Read More
Influenza infection can enhance the ability of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae to cause ear and throat infections, according to research published ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity.
In the study, the investigators infected mice with either influenza alone, pneumococc... Read More
Dangerous new pathogens such as the Ebola virus invoke scary scenarios of deadly epidemics, but even ancient scourges such as the bubonic plague are still providing researchers with new insights on how the body responds to infections.
In a study published online Sept. 18, 2014, in the journal... Read More
Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize.
But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning th... Read More
A short interview with artist Selin Balci on her use of microbes as an artistic medium. Here's a quote from the piece on SkyLife.com...
"Bio-art has not yet been defined in a way that is accepted by artists. Some artists, for example, make DNA models and call that BioArt. To me, BioArt has to... Read More
The Epstein–Barr virus and its relatives in the herpesvirus family are known for their longevity. They persist in host tissues for years, causing diseases like mononucleosis, Kaposi's sarcoma and herpes, and are notoriously difficult to kill. University of California, Los Angeles, biophysicist Z... Read More
(Re-)Introducing the Pseudomonads. Despite the somewhat murky provenance of their name, pseudomonads are everything but "pseudo-" in terms of their metabolic versatility: they are bacterial omnivores, heterotrophs yet far from picky. Members of the family Pseudomonadaceae (Gammaproteobacteria) a... Read More
A University of Otago researcher is part of an international team that has discovered that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) played a surprisingly large role in the evolution of primitive microbes known as archaea.
HGT, which involves acquiring genetic material from another unrelated organism in... Read More
The world of lipids does not always gets its due. Their oleaginous charm is not always appreciated, as we said here before. For example, have you heard of hopanoids? They are made by some bacteria and are an unusual kind of polycyclic lipids that resemble steroids, but with an extra ring. Just l... Read More
From joint replacements to cardiac implants and dialysis machines, medical devices enhance or save lives on a daily basis. However, any device implanted in the body or in contact with flowing blood faces two critical challenges that can threaten the life of the patient the device is meant to hel... Read More
Disruptions in the human circadian clock can throw off microbes in the gut, potentially boosting the risk of obesity, a new study suggests.
The results may help explain why shift workers and people who get jet lag by traveling frequently often pack on extra pounds.
"These surprising findin... Read More
Pregnant women have an unusually strong immune response to influenza, an unexpected finding that may explain why they get sicker from the flu than other healthy adults, new research from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford has found.
The ... Read More