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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

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 Research on Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Pressure Ulcers, Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis, and More

Two million people suffer antibiotic-resistant infections yearly, and 23,000 die each year as a result. Most of these infections occur in the community, but deaths usually occur in healthcare settings. Cost estimates vary but may be as high as $20 billion in excess direct healthcare costs.

C... Read More

A Bacterial Bioluminescent Valentine's Day

In this short post, I celebrate Valentine's Day with words of light---using bioluminescent bacteria! Read More

BacterioFiles 187 - Bacteria Bolster Bedbug Biotin

This episode: Some Wolbachia bacteria produce vitamin B7 for their insect hosts!


(7.1 MB, 7.75 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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A gut bacterium that attacks dengue and malaria pathogens and their mosquito vectors

Just like those of humans, insect guts are full of microbes, and the microbiota can influence the insect's ability to transmit diseases. A new study reports that a bacterium isolated from the gut of an Aedes mosquito can reduce infection of mosquitoes by malaria parasites and dengue virus. The b... 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

Environment influences ability of bacterium to block malaria transmission

The environment significantly influences whether or not a certain bacterium will block mosquitoes from transmitting malaria, according to researchers at Penn State.

The researchers used a species of malaria parasite that affects rodents, Plasmodium yoelii, and the mosquito, Anopheles stephens... Read More

BacterioFiles 182 - Chloroplast Colonizers' Contradictory Conflicts

This episode: BacterioFiles teams up with The Plant Pathology Podcast to talk about how microbes living in plants sometimes team up with the plants, sometimes with plant pathogens!


(17.7 MB, 19.25 minutes) Read More

Why Do Bacteria Thrive in Space?

For reasons that still aren't well understood, bacteria proliferate in microgravity. Creating a potential recipe for disaster for humans stationed in space for long periods, bacteria's love of low-g also raises an intriguing question: Why are they so comfortable there?

Click on source for ful... Read More

Bacteria 'could be a cause of preterm births'

New research from the US has found a link between preterm births where the water sac around the baby breaks prematurely, and bacteria near where the walls of the sac are thinner.

The researchers, including Amy P. Murtha, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Scho... Read More

New Springtime Flu Strain Going Around New York

Thought you only had to deal with allergies these days? Well, maybe you've noticed some friends or work colleagues calling in sick lately—that may be because there's another flu strain making the rounds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza B is accounting for 55% of all vi... Read More

Creative "Extra Credit" Projects in Microbiology!

In this blog entry, I explore how students can use their creativity to learn microbiology in innovative and often artistic ways. It makes learning more personal! Read More

‘SUPER-CLONE’ E. COLI COULD BE WORSE THAN HOSPITAL SUPERBUG

Virulent, drug-resistant forms of E. coli that have recently spread around the world emerged from a single strain of the bacteria, not many different strains, as has been widely believed.

The strain—which causes millions of urinary, kidney and bloodstream infections a year—could have a far gr... Read More

Tamoxifen drug appears to kill fungus associated with deadly brain infection

The drug tamoxifen appears to kill a fungus associated with a deadly brain infection that afflicts HIV/AIDS patients, according to a University of Rochester study published online today by mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Click on 'source' to read more. Read More

TWiM 80 Letters

Bob writes:


Dear TWIM hosts,


I enjoyed episode 76, "Genetic biopixels and a pathogenic sweet tooth". I really enjoyed hearing about the course that Dr. Schaechter teaches and in particular the work his students did in developing the biosensor. I would like to ... Read More

MAP OF THE DAY: States With 'Nightmare Bacteria' 2001 Vs. 2013

Each year, 2 million people get an infection that is resistant to antibiotics, the CDC has reported. Twenty-three thousand of them die as a result of the infection, and many more die from related complications.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are just one variety of antibiotic-r... Read More

Continuing Discussion on Gain of Function

Should scientific journals publish gain-of-function (GOF) studies, especially those involving pathogens with pandemic potential? While journal editors at the American Society for Microbiology have done so after careful consideration, some scientists expressed concern over that decision. A series... Read More

Should We Destroy Our Last Living Samples of the Virus That Causes Smallpox?

This month the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet to decide whether or not to destroy the last living strains of the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Since the WHO declared the disease eradicated in 1979, the scientific community has debated whether or not to destroy live virus sampl... 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

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