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Scientists Turn Dr. Frankenstein, Re-Write Bacteria’s Entire Genome

It may sound like science fiction, but researchers at Yale and Harvard have taken the first steps towards a Dr. Frankenstein-type reality, by fundamentally changing the genetic code of an organism.

The scientists were able to rewrite the genetic alphabet of the common bacteria E.coli, creatin... Read More

Epsilon toxin may trigger multiple sclerosis, research finds

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a central nervous system disease that often leads to paralysis and vision problems, affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide and has no cure. Though no one knows what triggers MS, researchers have long suspected that a combination of genetic and environmental f... Read More

How zinc starves lethal bacteria to stop infection

Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.

The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to des... Read More

Terms of Biology: The Pan-Genome

A still somewhat unfamiliar term is floating around: the pan-genome. In 2005, Tettelin et al. coined the term along with genome analyses of eight Streptococcus agalactiae strains, and Merry introduced it to this blog, some time back already. Today, a keyword search in PubMed returns roughly 200 ... Read More

Paper device spots antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists in Canada have developed a paper-based device that checks if bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics. The simple system could help users in remote areas pick the most appropriate treatment for bacterial infections.

Click on 'source' to read more Read More

'Citrus greening' bacteria devastating world's orange crop

A glass of orange juice in the morning is something many of us take for granted. But that might soon change thanks to a citrus disease affecting every major orange-growing region in the world.

The world's orange crop is being threatened by "citrus greening," a bacterial infection carried by a... Read More

Researchers create three-dimensional model of bacterium

Certain bacteria can build such complex membrane structures that, in terms of complexity and dynamics, look like eukaryotes, i.e., organisms with a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. Scientists from Heidelberg University and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) made this discovery empl... Read More

Single dose of century-old drug approved for sleeping sickness reverses autism-like symptoms in mice

In a further test of a novel theory that suggests autism is the consequence of abnormal cell communication, researchers report that an almost century-old drug approved for treating sleeping sickness also restores normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neu... Read More

Small-scale badger culls may boost spread of cattle TB

Scientists say that culling a small number of badgers risks increasing the spread of TB infection to cattle.

The research suggests that some farmers who have allegedly killed badgers on their property could be making things worse for themselves and neighbours.

The findings also indicate th... Read More

Tiny plastic dwellers have big impact on our oceans

Microscopic creatures that live on tiny ocean plastics greatly affect the fate and ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, according to researchers from The University of Western Australia.

PhD candidate Julia Reisser and colleagues have published an article in the international journ... Read More

Protein's "hands" enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds

When it comes to infecting humans and animals, bacteria need a helping hand.

Kansas State University biochemists have found the helping hand: groups of tiny protein loops on the surface of cells. These loops are similar to the fingers of a hand, and by observing seven individual loops on the ... Read More

GW Researcher Unlocks Next Step in Creating HIV-1 Immunotherapy Using Fossil Virus

The road to finding a cure for HIV-1 is not without obstacles. However, thanks to cutting-edge research by Douglas Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues, performed at the George Washington University (GW), Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Rochester, and UC San Francisco, the sc... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Potential Role of Gut Microbes in Autism

Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete... Read More

Much breast milk bought online is contaminated, analysis shows

Desperate for breast milk, some new mothers who can't nurse their babies are turning to online sources, typically strangers with ample supplies. But a new study finds that human milk bought and sold on the Internet may be contaminated — and dangerous.

Nearly 75 percent of breast milk bought t... Read More

Retrospective, June 2014 - Small Things Considered

As is our custom at this time of year, we go over the material that has appeared in this blog over the last six months. Seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s the result of the work of quite a number of dedicated people, all of whom deserve our gratitude.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Evolution depends on rare chance events, 'molecular time travel' experiments show

Chance events may profoundly shape history. What if Franz Ferdinand's driver had not taken a wrong turn, bringing the Duke face to face with his assassin? Would World War I still have been fought? Would Hitler have risen to power decades later?

Historians can only speculate on what might have... Read More

Oman says first MERS-coronavirus sufferer dies in hospital

Oman's first MERS coronavirus patient died in hospital on Sunday from lung failure, state news agency ONA said.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in Qatar, France,... Read More

Beer Science: Crafting the Perfect Pint

Oregon has 171 breweries operating out of 70 different cities, and Portland boasts more breweries per capita than any other city in the country. Two Oregon brew experts—Leon Fyfe, a microbiologist with the Craft Brew Alliance, and Ben Tilley, owner of Agrarian Ales—pour over the science of craft... Read More

Caribbean health experts warn of a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus

Caribbean health experts warned last week that they “cannot stop” a rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus that has infected thousands and is associated with six deaths in the region.

The alert came as the Dominican Republic’s health ministry became the 15th Caribbean nation to confirm cases ... Read More

Laser tool speeds up detection of Salmonella in food products

Purdue University researchers have developed a laser sensor that can identify Salmonella bacteria grown from food samples about three times faster than conventional detection methods.

Known as BARDOT (pronounced bar-DOH'), the machine scans bacteria colonies and generates a distinct black and... Read More

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