In a fascinating story that was presented on NPR by Nell Greenfieldboyce we learn that the source of the Justian Plague (541-543AD) was recently identified by sequencing blood extracted from the dental pulp of the teeth associated with two skeletons recovered from Munich. For many years it was... Read More
Biofuels made from plant materials—also known as lignocellulosic biofuels—have promise as a source of sustainable alternative fuels thanks to soil bacterium known as Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1. SCF1 degrades lignin and decomposes plant cell walls, allowing access to the cellulose sugars that... Read More
At Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, Cheryl Nickerson and her team have been investigating the intriguing effects of spaceflight on microbial pathogens.
In a new paper appearing in the current issue of the journal PLOS ONE, the team reports their recent work examining spacefligh... Read More
The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell. The scientists of the International School for Advanced Stu... Read More
Wolbachia, a symbiont that resides naturally up to 70% of all insect species, are probably the most prevalent infectious bacteria on Earth. In 2008 Luis Teixeira, now a principal investigator at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, and other scientists have discovered that Wolbachia can protect ... Read More
Cells, biological circuits, and individual biomolecules organize themselves and interact with the environment. Use of these capabilities in flexible and economically efficient biotechnological production systems is in the focus of the "Molecular Interaction Engineering" (MIE) project. It is the ... Read More
Cilia — short, hair-like fibers — are widely present in nature. Single-celled paramecia use one set of cilia for locomotion and another set to sweep nutrients into their oral grooves. Researchers at Brown have discovered that those two cilia sets operate at different speeds when the viscosity of... Read More
A graduate student came to my office recently to say that she was increasingly bothered by anxiety and the ‘terror’ of having to speak at laboratory meetings. She had also learned a month ago that she was expected to lecture to a class organized by her mentor. The thought of having to lecture to... Read More
Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus. But it doesn't always work.
That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far fro... Read More
Do you ever look at a couple and wonder… ‘Why are they together? What does X see in Y. I just don’t get it. Is X in it only for the money’? Who doesn’t at times ponder about such matters? There’s practically an entire economy based on it. However, you didn’t find this article while waiting to ... Read More
India is scrambling to protect its beleaguered tiger population after several big cats tested positive for a virus common among dogs but deadly to other carnivores, experts said.
In the last year, canine distemper virus has killed at least four tigers and several other animals across northern... Read More
What have we learned?
The various comments confirm that the term microbiome means different things to different people.
Lita points out that in the early days when HMP was formed, the NIH officially defined the human microbiome as “all of the microorganisms and their genes and genomes whic... Read More
Bravo Randy Schekman!
I strongly support your comments on the tyranny of "impact factors" and I will be pleased to join in efforts to prevent the misuse of these ratings.
Impact Factors have become a symbol of terror for scientists in all disciplines and their use in promotion and other ... Read More
Genomes provide clues for treating leukemia, endometrial cancers
Sixty years ago Jacob, Brenner and Cuzin devised their 'Replicon Model', inspiring and useful guideline for replication research ever since. According to the model, a 'Replicon' is a genetic element replicated from a single 'Replicator'—replication origin, in modern terms—and replication is trig... Read More
This episode: Bacteria are able to incorporate DNA from the environment into their genomes, even if it's thousands of years old!
(9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes)
We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our featured blog posts published since June 2013.
Microbial ‘Starstuff’. Associate blogger Gemma Reguera tells us how the remnants of a dying star become transmuted into microbial stuff, including cellular structures... Read More
Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of... Read More
Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... Read More