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TWiM 91 Letters



Jacob writes:
Hello hosts of TWiM and TWiV,
I'm sending this to both podcasts because I'm interested in hearing what all of you have to say (I figure that I'm going to catch Dickson on TWiV, but if not feel free to ask him on TWiP).


I saw this que... Read More

A WORD on the constraints of influenza virus evolution

Evolution proceeds by selection of mutants that arise by error-prone duplication of nucleic acid genomes. It is believed that mutations that are selected in a gene are dependent on those that have preceded them, an effect known as epistasis. Analysis of a sequence of changes in the influenza vir... Read More

Bacterial Nanowires: Not What We Thought They Were

New videos of morphing bacteria reveal that the strange, distinguishing features of so-called “electric bacteria” aren’t quite what they at first appeared to be.

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric... Read More

How Ebola Blindsides the Body's Defenses

Researchers often describe the battle between the Ebola virus and the humans it occasionally infects as a race—one that people win only if their immune systems manage to pull ahead before the virus destroys too many of their internal defenses. What they may not know is that the virus is a cheat.... Read More

What Gut Bacteria Might Have To Do With Colorectal Cancer Risk

While genetics likely play a role in some instances of colorectal cancer, a new study in mice suggests gut bacteria could also influence development of intestinal tumors. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that giving antibiotics to mice to disrupt their microbial... Read More

2,300 tubes containing SARS virus samples missing in France

A major French biomedical research body, the Pasteur Institute, have launched an investigation into the disappearance of some 2,300 test tubes containing samples of the SARS virus. The loss was discovered during an inventory.

The Pasteur Institute filed a so-called 'complaint against X' on Mo... Read More

New drugs for bad bugs

Washington University in St Louis chemist Timothy Wencewicz says we’ll stay ahead of antibiotic resistance only if we find drugs with new scaffolds, or core chemical structures. One promising candidate, an antibiotic made by a bacterium than infects plants, caught his attention because it contai... Read More

TWiM 87 Letters

Varun writes:


Greetings TWiM Profz,


As a perso... Read More

Battling Infection With Microbes

The human relationship with microbial life is complicated. At almost any supermarket, you can pick up both antibacterial soap and probiotic yogurt during the same shopping trip. Although there are types of bacteria that can make us sick, Caltech professor of biology and biological engineering Sa... Read More

BacterioFiles 195 - CRISPR/Cas Cuts Cancer Causers

This episode: Bacterial antivirus system could treat chronic herpes virus infections!


(10.9 MB, 11.9 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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Arctic bacteria gene swap to detoxify mercury

On the list of substances you really don’t want to mess with, elemental mercury is pretty high up. Inhalation or absorption of the volatile metal can quickly lead to irreversible poisoning. Unfortunately, Hg is also a hallmark of industrial society.....Mercury-resistant bacteria carry a collecti... Read More

TWiV 314: Einstein goes viral

Vincent travels to Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he speaks with Kartik, Ganjam, and Margaret about their work on Ebolavirus entry, a tumor suppressor that binds the HIV-1 integrase, and the entry of togaviruses and flaviviruses into cells.


Host:  Read More

TWiV 299: Rocky Mountain virology

Vincent visits the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana and speaks with Marshall, Sonja, and Byron about their work on tick-born flaviviruses, innate immunity, and prion diseases.


Host: Vincent ... Read More

TWiP 77 letters

Andy writes:


Dear Professors,


I have been following TWIP for several years. I am a software engineer and parasitology is only an avocation. As an undergraduate in the early 80's I discovered my love of history of science and ecology, although I continued the p... Read More

When Will We Have a Vaccine for Ebola Virus?

The latest outbreak of Ebola virus in west Africa is the worst ever—as of Monday, it had infected more than 1,200 people and claimed at least 672 victims since this spring. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone all have confirmed cases. An official at Doctors Without Borders has declared the outbreak... 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

Stanford bioengineer develops a 50-cent paper microscope

The Foldscope is a fully functional microscope that can be laser- or die-cut out of paper for around 50 cents.

This bookmark-sized microscope can be assembled in minutes, includes no mechanical moving parts, packs in a flat configuration, is extremely rugged and can be incinerated after to s... Read More

Ebola Virus: A Grim, African Reality

There’s nothing like an outbreak of Ebola virus disease to bring a small, struggling African nation to international notice. One week we couldn’t place it on a map; the next week, after Ebola virus disease strikes, we know the body count and the name of the capital and whether its airport has cl... Read More

Microbe/Mineral Affinities

This is a paper from the Geomicrobiology lab at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. It was recently published in a special issue of Geomicrobiology Journal focused on geomicrobiology of subsurface microorganisms in cave environments.

In this study we attemp... Read More

The Ebola Outbreak: 'A Dress Rehearsal For The Next Big One'

Until this year, the world had recorded 1,640 deaths from Ebola since the virus was discovered in 1976.

Then Ebola appeared in West Africa.

So far this year, 887 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday.

To put that into perspective, more than ... Read More
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