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An immune system for Algernon?

I haven't read it (yet) but heard Daniel Keyes' 1960 short story/1966 novel is a sci-fi masterpiece.

And it's the first place my mind went upon reading about this fascinating breakthrough by researchers at Yale. Read More

Predicting the virulence of MRSA from its genome sequence

Microbial virulence is a complex and often multifactorial phenotype, intricately linked to a pathogen’s evolutionary trajectory. Toxicity, the ability to destroy host cell membranes, and adhesion, the ability to adhere to human tissues, are the major virulence factors of many bacterial pathogens... Read More

Baker's Yeast Gets a Genetic Makeover

The humble baker's yeast has been enlisted to serve the needs of humanity, responsible for beer, wine and bread, among other staples. A domesticated servant for at least millennia, the microscopic fungus has now had one of its chromosomes swapped out by a host of undergraduate students in favor ... Read More

Life-style determines gut microbes

The gut microbiota is responsible for many aspects of human health and nutrition, but most studies have focused on “western” populations. An international collaboration of researchers, including researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has for th... Read More

Computing with Slime

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.... Read More

Lassa Fever Reported in U.S. Traveler to West Africa

A Minnesota man who returned from a trip to West Africa has been diagnosed with Lassa fever, a severe and sometimes deadly viral disease rarely seen in the United States, health officials said.

The man, who was hospitalized with fever and confusion on March 31, was confirmed to have Lassa fev... Read More

Are tiny microbes outwitting us to steal our food?

It's long been know that microbes are to blame for food going off and becoming rotten but in the late 1970's, Dan Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania, and a winner of ecology's version of the Nobel Prize, suggested that making something rotten may be to the advantage of the microbes living ... Read More

Phage 'cocktail' wipes out 99 percent of E. coli in meat, spinach

Treating food products with select bacteriophages - viruses that target and kill bacteria - could significantly reduce concentrations of E. coli, a Purdue University study shows.

An injection of bacteriophages - also known informally as "phages" - nearly eradicated a toxin-producing strain of... Read More

Genetic Defect May Confer Resistance to Certain Viral Infections

A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study reports that a rare genetic disease, while depleting patients of infection-fighting antibodies, may actually protect them from certain severe or recurrent viral infections. Researchers found that HIV and influenza viruses replicate in the cells of peop... Read More

From Geology to Biology: A Serpentine Story of Early Life

Over 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth was a superheated sphere of molten rock, radiating heat to space at over 2000 K. A billion years later, it had global oceans, teeming with microorganisms. In that time, the Earth underwent massive geological changes, somehow serendipitously creating conditio... Read More

Structural insights into inner workings of viral nanomachine

Researchers are using new nanoscale imaging approaches to shed light on the dynamic activities of rotaviruses, important pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in young children. Once a rotavirus enters a host cell, it sheds its outermost protein layer, leaving behind a double-layered pa... Read More

Virology question of the week

On the science show This Week in Virology we receive many questions and comments, which are read every week. I also get many questions here on virology blog, which I tend to answer by email. However I think that everyone could benefit from these questions, so I’ve decided to post one here each w... Read More

Researchers find way to reduce E. coli in cows, improving food safety

A new biological treatment could help dairy cattle stave off uterine diseases and eventually may help improve food safety for humans, a University of Florida study shows.

Kwang Cheol Jeong, an assistant professor in animal sciences and UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, examined cattle uterin... Read More

8 unusual uses for probiotics

Most of us are familiar with taking our daily probiotic supplement in the conventional way, either in capsule or powder form. It is however becoming increasingly apparent that people are discovering some weird and wonderful ways to use their probiotics, and here nutritional therapist Jo Saunders... Read More

Ancient buried treasure found in daisy seeds

By tracing the evolutionary origin of a drug-like protein ring found in sunflowers, Australian and US scientists have discovered a diverse, 18-million-year-old group of buried proteins in daisy seeds.

Researchers at The University of Western Australia, working with academics from The Universi... Read More

Risk of dengue fever epidemic in Europe

The risk of dengue fever beginning to spread in Europe is imminent. According to researchers from Umeå University, this is no longer just an issue for the scientific community but also for politicians and policy makers, who need to be prepared and develop preventive measures.

With a changing ... Read More

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

New research shows that bacteria survive longer in contact lens cleaning solution than previously thought

Each year in the UK, bacterial infections cause around 6,000 cases of a severe eye condition known as microbial keratitis - an inflammation and ulceration of the cornea that can lead to loss of vision. The use of contact lenses has been identified as a particular risk factor for microbial kerati... Read More

By Chance and Necessity: The Role of the Cytoskeleton in the Genesis of Eukaryotes

One of the most exciting and enduring obscurities of biology lies in the early stages of the evolution of “our” eukaryotic cells (Figure 1). The endosymbiotic theory accounts well for the present existence of the mitochondrial and chloroplast organelles of eukaryotes. Although there is evidence ... Read More

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark

Researchers at UCL have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for ... Read More

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