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Mosquito Immune System Engineered to Block Malaria

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute demonstrated for the first time that the Anopheles mosquito's innate immune system could be genetically engineered to block the transmission of the malaria-causing parasite to humans. In addition, they showed that the genetic modificati... Read More

Biosecurity Can Help Prevent Spread of EHV-1 Infections

The neurologic form of the equine herpesevirus-1 (EHV) called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a potentially fatal disease of horses, can largely be avoided by instituting and maintaining standard biosecurity measures, which are readily available from the American Association of Equ... Read More

HPV Vaccine Reduces Infection, Even in Unvaccinated: Evidence of 'Herd' Protection

The HPV vaccine not only has resulted in a decrease in human papillomavirus infection in immunized teens but also in teens who were not immunized.

The study is believed to be the first to show a substantial decrease in HPV infection in a community setting as well as herd protection -- a decre... Read More

Do Bacteria Have Built-In Cell Death Mechanisms?

Cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a significant part of normal animal development. However, the question arises whether bacteria, similar to higher organisms, have a built-in mechanism that determines when the cells die.

Researchers at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew Universi... Read More

RNA virus encodes microRNA which may influence oncogenesis in bovine host

This exciting paper addresses a mystery in tumor virology as to how, Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV), a retrovirus that is frequently recovered in B cell lymphomas, contributes to oncogenesis. microRNAs have rapidly become significant players in cell cycle regulation/tumorigenesis and are also expr... Read More

Selection-driven Gene Loss in Bacteria

Bacterial genomes differ dramatically in size: from 140Kb to 13Mb (those numbers might be off now...please let me know if something has broken the record. Yes, I know the lower estimate can change based on semantics, but there are a bunch in that range). Although we have some clues as to how sel... Read More

Scientists Discover New Trigger for Immense North Atlantic Plankton Bloom

Across the horizon and miles out to sea toward the north, the Atlantic Ocean's own spring and summer ritual is unfolding: the blooming of countless microscopic plant plankton, or phytoplankton.

In what's known as the North Atlantic Bloom, an immense number of phytoplankton burst into color, f... Read More

Millions of diabetics could die of tuberculosis

A third of the world’s human population is infected with a dormant tuberculosis bacteria, primarily people living in developing countries. The bacteria presents a lifelong TB risk. Recent research out of the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that the risk of tuberculosis breaking out is four... Read More

Can India remain polio-free?

India has been free of polio for over one year. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering that just 30 years ago the country recorded 200,000 cases of the disease annually, or one every three minutes. With polio endemic in two neighboring countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in the mo... Read More

phytoplankton seem from space

In this Envisat image, a phytoplankton bloom swirls a figure-of-8 in the South Atlantic Ocean about 600 km east of the Falkland Islands.

During this period in the southern hemisphere, the ocean becomes rich in minerals from the mixing of surface waters with deeper waters. Phytoplankton depen... Read More

Drug Combo Cuts Malaria Risk in HIV Patients

Treatment with lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) reduced the risk that HIV-infected children would become co-infected with malaria, researchers said here.

Compared with treatment based on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), therapy with the protease inhibitor-based combinati... Read More

A world free of 1 of the most virulent animal diseases?

One of the most economically devastating diseases in the world for those who raise cows, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed animals is foot and mouth Disease (FMD). This incredibly contagious and fast-spreading disease causes fever, blisters on the feet and mouth (hence the name), ... Read More

TWiV 166 Letters

Eric writes:


Hello Professors,


Thanks again for all the effort and care you invest into your podcasts. I'm writing today to suggest a pick of the week: The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. Suzuki, one of Canada's scientist/rock-stars, hosts... Read More

Researcher seeks to understand link between obesity, flu severity

The recent H1N1 flu pandemic was found to be particularly dangerous to obese people, and a Wayne State University researcher is looking for clues as to why.

Emily Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has begun... Read More

Reform falters after Europe’s E. coli scare

One year on from Europe’s worst recorded outbreak of Escherichia coli infection, governments have made little progress towards improving the monitoring and reporting systems that allowed the crisis to drag on for weeks. The disease, which was spread by contaminated fenugreek sprouts, swept acros... Read More

NTU scientists invent superbug killers

The superbugs have met their match.

Conceived at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), it comes in the form of a coating which has a magnetic-like feature that attracts bacteria and kills them without the need for antibiotics.

The killer coating, which has shown to destroy 99 per cent of... Read More

Palese: Don’t censor live-saving science

Renowned influenza virologist Peter Palese has penned an opinion column for the science journal Nature in which he uses his experience in reconstructing the 1918 pandemic influenza virus strain to question the censoring of H5N1 results by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSAB... Read More

Cat Litter Parasite Tied to Suicide Risk in New Moms

Mothers with IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii at delivery are at risk for later self-harm or suicide, particularly if they have higher titers against the parasite, a Danish study found.

The risk of self-directed violent behavior was increased 1.53-fold (95% CI 1.27 to 1.85, Psk rose to 1.9... Read More

Tooth protection from the sea

A team of dentists and scientists from Newcastle University are developing a new product from a marine microbe to protect dentures, teeth and gums from bacteria in the mouth.

They are using an enzyme isolated from a marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis found on the surface of seaweed which... Read More

Arsenic-loving bacteria? New studies contradict report of bugs that seemed to break the rules

It was a provocative finding: strange bacteria in a California lake that thrived on something completely unexpected — arsenic. What it suggested is that life, a very different kind of life, could possibly exist on some other planet.

The research, published by a leading scientific journal in 2... Read More

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