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Deadly Human Pathogen Cryptococcus Fully Sequenced

DURHAM, NC - Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus neoformans -- a fungus responsible for a million cases of pneumonia and... Read More

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

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

A Bird Flu Death in China. What it Means — and Doesn’t Mean

Science and news cycles sometimes converge in unhandy ways. That was the case on on January 1, when word came out of Shenzen, a Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, that a 39-year-old bus driver, surnamed Chen, had died of the H5N1 (or bird flu) virus. The deeply personal tragedy for Chen and his f... Read More

Untapped Plant Microbiome Could Help Feed Billions

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

The Jelly Roll of Life

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

Has plant biomass met its match?

Converting plant biomass into useful products and biofuels inevitably runs up against a big problem: degrading cellulose and other cell wall polymers, which are, by design, tough nuts to crack. Plants need tough cell walls in order to stand tall and compete for sunlight, but the recalcitrance of... Read More

Europe kickstarts R&D fightback against superbugs

Europe set out plans to boost research into the neglected area of antibiotics on Thursday by promising to accelerate approval of new drugs, while ensuring adequate prices for their makers and promoting industry-wide R&D.

Multi-drug resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, are a growing thr... Read More

Incidence of childhood tuberculosis could be 25 percent higher than previous estimates

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

New type of heredity described in Paramecia, linked to epigenetics

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

Plant Pathogen Silences Host’s Immune Genes

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

Artificial magnetic bacteria "turn" food into natural drugs

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

Salvaging Science from Stricken Mars Moon Probe: A Scientist's View

Russian engineers are scrambling to save the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft amid ever-bleaker signs the mission may be lost. The probe was launched uneventfully Nov. 8, but soon afterward its thruster failed to fire to send it on a course toward Mars, leaving the spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit.

... Read More

Deadly Bacteria Lurk in Deepwater Horizon Tar Balls

Nearly two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster gushed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, tar balls from the spill still turn up on Alabama's shores after storms. Now, one researcher is recommending that people steer clear of these tar balls after studies find them chock-f... Read More

FDA Panel Votes to Expand Use of Pneumococcal Vaccine to Adults

An FDA advisory committee has voted 14-1 in favor of expanding the indication for the pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13) to include use in adults 50 and older.

Currently the Pfizer vaccine is approved only for use in children.

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biologics Adv... Read More

Scientists to Study Novel Treatment for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

The bacteria Enterococcus can cause infections that typically target the digestive tract or bowel; if the bacteria spread, an abdominal abscess or urinary infection could result. Enterococcus also can invade the bloodstream, leading to meningitis, pneumonia or endocarditis — an infection of the ... Read More

Sauerkraut: bacteria making food

Last week my husband needed some jars for cooking purposes. Tesco sell jars for somewhere around £3 each. However they also sell large jars full of sauerkraut for £1 each. Which means that last weekend we had an awful lot of sauerkraut to try and get through.

I’m not a great fan of sauerkraut... Read More

Second American infected with Ebola

A second American aid worker in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola, according to the Christian humanitarian group she works for.

Nancy Writebol is employed by Serving in Mission, or SIM, in Liberia and was helping the joint SIM/Samaritan's Purse team that is treating Ebola patients in Monr... Read More

Esther Lederberg, Pioneer of Bacterial Genetics

“She did pioneering work in genetics, but it was her husband who won a Nobel price.” So said an obituary in the British newspaper The Guardian regarding Esther Lederberg, a North American microbiologist married to Joshua Lederberg from 1946 to 1966 [8]. Being married to and working along such a... Read More

Ebola Outbreak “Worsening” in West Africa

The Ebola outbreak continues to roil West Africa, with the World Health Organization announcing Thursday that the death toll has climbed to 729 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. More than 1,300 people are infected.

To help limit the spread of the disease the U.S. Centers for Disease Contro... Read More

Beating bad bacteria

Wake Forest sophomore receives prestigious award to study dangerous bacteria.

The notion that trillions of bacteria are packed into the human body is enough to give anyone the heebie jeebies.

But not all bacteria are bad, said Hannah Martin, a rising sophomore. On the contrary, there are ... Read More

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