The drought that has the entire country in its grip is affecting more than the color of people’s lawns. It may also be responsible for the proliferation of a heat-loving amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater bodies, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, which the drought has made warmer than... Read More
Nearly 40 years ago, a young Belgian scientist travelled to a remote part of the Congolese rainforest - his task was to help find out why so many people were dying from an unknown and terrifying disease.
In September 1976, a package containing a shiny, blue thermos flask arrived at the Instit... Read More
The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is a global initiative to identify and characterize the microorganisms present at multiple sites in the human body. An international team of researchers reports on new ways to harness the results of the HMP and discusses how changes in the microbiome might affe... Read More
Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.
Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly vir... Read More
We know that life on earth is incredibly diverse. It can survive deep in the trenches of the ocean and in the frozen permafrost of the arctic. Surely we have much to learn from the study of life, but we also have much to learn about the virus. Even though they are not considered living things, t... Read More
Considered as an obsolete theory for many years, the transmission of acquired traits has returned to the forefront of debate thanks to the development of epigenetic research. In this context, a team of researchers has described how in Paramecia, mating types are transmitted from generation to ge... Read More
New estimates indicate that over 650,000 children develop tuberculosis (TB) every year in the 22 countries with a high burden of the disease -- almost 25 percent higher than the total number of new cases worldwide estimated by WHO in 2012. The research also suggests that about 15 million childre... Read More
Scientists from the University of Granada have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug an... Read More
As more and more information becomes available, one marvels (and also frets) at the sophisticated strategies that pathogens have evolved in order to evade their hosts’ defense mechanisms. Many pathogens of plants and animals deliver effectors into their hosts in order to suppress immune response... Read More
A report in Biology Letters shows that the drool of herbivores might help defeat the toxic fungal defences of the plants they graze on.
Grazing or cutting some plants induces a noxious chemical to be produced which deters hungry plant-eaters from revisiting them. The chemicals, called alkaloi... Read More
A former student dropped by my lab this morning, and brought me a gift: a knit bacteriophage! Many times, as educators, we hear what we haven't done well, or could do better. Sometimes, like today, we get a priceless "thank you" from a former student. Read More
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
Using a new technique to track the swimming motion of a single bacterium, researchers have discovered that the movement of the bacterium’s body — not just thrust from the flagellum — allow movement through fluids. The finding could shed new light on the evolution of cell body shape.
Click "so... Read More
The Human Microbiome Project revealed tens of trillions of microbes residing in and on humans. Now scientists are taking a census of plant microbes—and not just the hundreds of billions found in soils. Distinct microbial communities live inside roots, on leaves and within flowers, and all in all... Read More
Aaron Wheeler is the director of an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Toronto in Canada. The group develop lab-on-a-chip techniques for applications in biology, chemistry and medicine.
You recently reported an exciting technique that can screen algae grown under different ... Read More