The finding of viral nucleic acid sequences in illegally imported wildlife products has attracted the attention of the New York Times, which published an article entitled From the jungle to J.F.K., viruses cross borders in monkey meat. Read More
Regular use of fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash has long been known to strengthen the enamel on teeth. But new research by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists finds that fluoride also has dramatic effects on bacteria inside the mouth -- including those that form plaque ... Read More
Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio are investigating a potential new drug that could improve learning and memory during aging -- thanks to Easter Island?
The drug, called rapamycin, comes from isolated bacterial products in the soil of the Polynesian islan... Read More
The detection of a new virus called XMRV in the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in 2009 raised hope that a long-sought cause of the disease, whose central characteristic is extreme tiredness that lasts for at least six months, had been finally found. But that hypothesis has... Read More
Farmers and ranchers will for the first time need a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in farm animals, in hopes that more judicious use of the drugs will reduce the tens of thousands of human deaths that result each year from the drugs’ overuse.
The Food and Drug Admin... Read More
They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds.
Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodi... Read More
Scientists may have pinpointed a potential way to prevent the flu by identifying a protein that amps up the immune system, according to a new animal study.
The synthetic protein, called EP67, is able to trigger an immune response to the "threat" of the flu virus within a couple of hours in mi... Read More
Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers.
The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu virus... Read More
Forget needles in haystacks. Try finding the tip of a needle in a virus. Scientists have long known that a group of viruses called bacteriophages have a knack for infiltrating bacteria and that some begin their attack with a protein spike. But the tip of this spike is so small that no one knew w... Read More
Researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute, the Technical University of Denmark, and elsewhere used whole-genome sequence typing to retrace the evolutionary history of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain currently found in livestock back to its antibiotic-sus... Read More
Beer discovered two years ago onboard a shipwreck from the mid-1800s could possibly be recreated using living bacteria discovered in the brew, Finnish researchers announced last Thursday.
According to Terhi Kinnunen of Reuters, Annika Wilhelmson from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland s... Read More
Insects have been around for almost 400 million years. That’s plenty of time for evolution to fashion countless horrific deaths for them. Case in point: some insects die because a little worm vomits glowing bacteria inside their bodies.
The worm is Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a microscopic... Read More
One of my heroes, evolutionary microbiologist Lynn Margulis, died this past Thanksgiving. She was an amazing lady who was married to Carl Sagan for many years, and partnered with James Lovelock in discovering that the earth is an interconnected living global ecosystem run largely by microbes. Sh... Read More
Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts.
The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step toward... Read More
It isn't often these days that a whole new country comes into being. But that just happened, with the official hiving off of South Sudan from the rest of Sudan on 9 July.
Sudan always was an improbably huge result of post-colonial border invention, and the near-permanent civil war between the... Read More
Squishing a stack of virus sheets generates enough electricity to power a small liquid crystal display. With increased power output, these virus films might one day use the beating of your heart to power a pacemaker, the researchers behind them say.
Piezoelectric materials build up charge whe... Read More
Reuters columnist Peter Christian Hall believes the possibility that H5N1 could be effectively weaponized is remote and there is more harm than good in withholding data from two research papers that outline the methods to create an aerosolized strain of avian flu in ferrets.
"Amid the furor ... Read More
This past February I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of the Fouchier and Kawaoka experiments on avian influenza virus H5N1. The video, Building the Perfect Bug, has been released by Journeyman Pictures and includes interviews with S.T. Lai, Laurie Garrett, Mic... Read More
In a tale worthy of Sherlock Holmes, scientists in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, UK have solved a biochemical mystery that had previously proven elusive for 70 years: How the fungus Talaromyces stipitatus produces stipitatic acid (6), which is a tropolone, one of an atypi... Read More