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By introducing DNA from other organisms, scientists enhance production of compounds in fungus

The enzymes and compounds produced by fungi are of great interest to the pharmaceutical, textile, paper and food industries. These organisms are capable of secreting, their nutritional needs are low and have high growth rate. A group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexi... Read More

Pictures Considered #22. ¡Viva La Resolucion!

Why should we consider this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry, and why in our 'Pictures Considered' section in the first place? A hint comes from one of the many press releases: "... for improving the resolution of optical microscopes." Aha! Microscopes are at the heart of microbiology since Rober... Read More

Patient with exposure to Ebola arrives safely at NIH Clinical Center

A patient with exposure to the Ebola virus while in Sierra Leone has arrived safely at the NIH Clinical Center for observation and to enroll in a clinical protocol. Read More

Two More Questions about CRISPRs

Over the past eight years, step-by-step, researchers have established a basic understanding of the CRISPR defenses against foreign DNA so widely used by both bacteria and archaea. We related the early story on STC in 2008 and commented on six additional questions in 2011. Still, questions remain... Read More

Small Things Considered Retrospective, December 2014

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.

Structure and Function

Chromosome Org... Read More

A Faster Way to Diagnose Antibiotic Resistance

Novel test could slash wait time and curb inappropriate prescriptions.

Antibiotic resistance, which transforms ordinary microbes into menaces that cannot be easily controlled, is exacting a growing toll on the human population. More than two million people in the U.S. develop drug-resistant i... Read More

MERS virus detected in air samples from Saudi camel barn

Saudi scientists have found gene fragments of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in air from a barn housing an infected camel and say this suggests the disease may be transmitted through the air.

MERS, a serious respiratory illness caused by a virus known as a coronaviru... Read More

Running an Ebola Clinic in Sierra Leone Is All About Containment—And Chlorine

Treating patients with the deadly Ebola virus takes doctors, drugs, and a whole lot of chlorine.

The Ebola treatment units being deployed across Sierra Leone are built by teams of logisticians—“logs” in disaster aid parlance—who can drop into a bare field and construct a mini city in a matter... Read More

On The Definition of Prokaryotes

As will be argued below the present definition of a prokaryote is highly unsatisfactory. To give an example: a prokaryote is "a cell or organism lacking a nucleus and other membrane-enclose organelles, usually having its DNA in a single circular molecule" (Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 10th ... Read More

CDC: Flu shot less effective this year because current virus has mutated

Scientists are concerned about what they're seeing so far this flu season, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, a day after the agency advised doctors this year's flu vaccine is not as effective because the current strain of the virus has mutated.

Dr. ... Read More

Shigella Steals Host Nutrients... Economically

Intracellular pathogens face many daunting problems, among them how to obtain enough energy and nutrients for active growth while, preferably, keeping the host cell alive for as long as possible. This issue is especially acute for pathogens that grow at a fast rate and reach large numbers. When ... Read More

We'd all like to get to Mars. Let's make sure we don't get sick along the way.

While Hollywood loves to imagine humans encountering all manner of horrific monsters in the depths of space, the greatest threat to a long-term, manned space mission may not come with tentacles, or extra mouths, or an insatiable love for human flesh. It may, in fact, be the invisible microbes t... Read More

Promising compound rapidly eliminates malaria parasite

An international research collaborative has determined that a promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite but leave healthy cells unharmed. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists led the study, which ap... Read More

Research shows mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV

A Japanese mushroom extract appears to be effective for the eradication of human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a pilot clinical trial at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

The results were presented at the 11th International Conference of ... Read More

On the trail of the truffle flavour

German an French Scientists found out: Soil bacteria contribute to the taste and smell of white truffles.

Truffles, along with caviar, are among the most expensive foods in the world. Because they grow underground, people use trained dogs or pigs to find them. But the distinctive smell of tru... Read More

Millions of Doses of Ebola Vaccine to Be Ready by End of 2015

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans on October 24 to produce millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of doses should be available to help affected countries before the end of June, the WHO said at the conclusion of a meeti... Read More

Injectable 3D vaccines could fight cancer and infectious diseases

New findings show programmable biomaterials can be delivered using needle injection to induce an immune response and fight deadly diseases.

One of the reasons cancer is so deadly is that it can evade attack from the body's immune system, which allows tumors to flourish and spread. Scientists ... Read More

Immune cells proposed as HIV hideout don't last in primate model

Where does HIV hide? Antiretroviral drugs can usually control the virus, but can’t completely eliminate it. So any strategy to eradicate HIV from the body has to take into account not only the main group of immune cells the virus targets, called CD4 or helper T cells, but other infected cells as... Read More

For enterics, adaptability could be an Achilles heel

In research published in Nature Chemical Biology, scientists from RIKEN in Japan have discovered a surprisingly simple mechanism through which enterics can adjust to the very different oxygen environments inside the human gut and outside. This research, which was led by Shigeyuki Yokoyama and Wa... Read More

Typhoid gene unravelled

People who carry a particular type of gene have natural resistance against typhoid fever according to new research published in Nature Genetics.

Lead researcher, Dr Sarah Dunstan from the Nossal Institute of Global Health at the University of Melbourne said the study is the first large-scale,... Read More
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