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A Genetics Company Fails, Its Research Too Complex

DeCode Genetics, a pioneering company that used the Icelandic population as its guinea pigs in detecting disease-causing mutations, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.

The company’s demise suggests that the medical promise of the human genome may take much longer to be fulfilled than its sponsor... Read More

Detonating Tumor-Killer Drug in Cancers on Command

Experiments at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute (PVLSI) at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., reported in a recent British Journal of Cancer, confirm that University of Massachusetts Amherst chemical engineer Neil Forbes' delivery and trigger system has for the first time s... Read More

New Culprit for Viral Infections Among Elderly—An Overactive Immune Response

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that exaggerated responses of the immune system explain why the elderly succumb to viral infections more readily than younger people. Published in the November 19 Cell Host & Microbe, the study bucks the general belief that declining immune respo... Read More

DOE and USDA Offer $4 Million for Biomass Genomics Research

DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on October 12 that they will offer $4 million for genomics research projects to develop new plant feedstocks for biofuels. The new funding continues a commitment, begun in 2006, to conduct a joint fundamental research program in biomass... Read More

Better not cough: Santas lobby for swine flu shots

Forget cookies and milk. Santa wants the swine flu vaccine.

Many of the nation's Santas want to be given priority for the vaccine and not just because of those runny-nosed kids. There's also the not-so-little matter of that round belly. Research has suggested obesity could be a risk factor.
... Read More

Study Ties Restrooms to Illnesses on Cruises

It is the perfect way to spoil a vacation, and it has happened 66 times since 2005: an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness aboard a cruise ship. Now a study suggests one possible culprit: dirty restrooms.

Most restrooms on these ships are not being properly cleaned, the authors say, and a sa... Read More

FDA Bows To Pressure From Fans Of Raw Oysters

Facing political pressure from the Gulf Coast oyster industry, the FDA has backed off a plan to require raw oysters from the Gulf of Mexico to be treated to rid them of Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially deadly bacteria found in warm-water oysters. Harvesters and politicians had warned that the pl... Read More

All about oomycetes - fine reading

The Small Things Considered blog has just started a three-part series on oomycetes, also known as water molds.

The first piece (published today) describes oomycete biology, the other two will focus on a particular oomycete: the late potato blight pathogen.

Here's a clip:

"As you know, ... Read More

Slowing Evolution to Stop Drug Resistance

Infectious organisms that become resistant to antibiotics are a serious threat to human society. They are also a natural part of evolution. In a new project, researchers at the University of Gothenburg are attempting to find substances that can slow the pace of evolution, in order to ensure that... Read More

Previous Seasonal Flu Infections May Provide Some Level of H1N1 Immunity

Researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and colleagues have found that previous influenza infections may provide at least some level of immunity to the H1N1 "swine" flu."

The question we asked was, 'Is the swine flu more like the seasonal flu or like a totally new strai... Read More

Bacterial 'Ropes' Tie Down Shifting Southwest

Researchers from Arizona State University have discovered that several species of microbes (cyanobacteria), at least one found prominently in the deserts of the Southwest, have evolved the trait of rope-building to lasso shifting soil substrates.

The study, published Nov. 17 in the journal Pu... Read More

Vaccine Against Chlamydia Not Far Away

When a woman becomes infected with Chlamydia, the first white blood cells that arrive at the scene to fight the infection are not the most effective. This is shown by a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy. This discovery could pave the way for the relatively rapid development of a vaccine agains... Read More

Viral disease is killing the koala

The koala, Australia's star symbol, is dying of stress.

Koalas live in the rolling hills and flat plains where eucalyptus trees grow, because they need the leaves for both food and water. But as people move in, koalas are finding fewer trees, researchers say. As a result, the stress is bringi... Read More

Twittering the student experience (aka Microblogging Microbiology)

Alan Cann, senior lecturer at the University of Leicester, and colleagues Jo Badge, Stuart Johnson and Alex Moseley, have just published an article/paper on a small experiment involving student use of the microbloging service Twitter and its role in academia. Specifically, Cann and colleagues lo... Read More

Watching Lyme disease-causing microbes move in ticks

Lyme disease is caused by the microbe Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans from feeding ticks. Justin Radolf and colleagues, at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, have now visualized the microbe moving through the feeding tick and determined that it has a bi... Read More

Renewed Hope for an AIDS Vaccine

The long search for an AIDS vaccine has produced countless false starts and repeated failed trials, casting once bright hopes into shadows of disenchantment. The now familiar swings appeared in high relief this past fall, with news of the most recent, phase III trial in Thailand. Initial fanfare... Read More

New Study Uncovers Key Role of Bacteria in the Formation of ‘Red Tide’ Algal Blooms

According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NOAA and NOAA-funded university scientists are closer to understanding why “red tides,” called harmful algal blooms form. These toxic harmful algal blooms threaten marine ecosystems, human health, and cost loc... Read More

Can a Person Contract Two Colds at One Time?

The rhinovirus that causes most cases of the common cold comes in many strains — at least 99, to be exact. As a result, it has long been theorized that a person could be sickened with more than one cold strain at the same time. But recent studies of the common cold and its behavior in the human ... Read More

No-Entry Zones For AIDS Virus

The AIDS virus inserts its genetic material into the genome of the infected cell. Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center have now shown for the first time that the virus almost entirely spares particular sites in the human genetic material in this process. This finding may be useful for... Read More

University of Kansas researchers harvest fuel from sewage

"University of Kansas researchers are working to turn microbes from treated sewage into a commercially viable biofuel, fluid that one day could be used to power the nation's cars, trucks, airplanes and other modes of transportation.

But for now, the future grows in four farm tanks at Lawrence... Read More

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