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Synthetic biology

Earlier this year, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute reported in the journal Science that they had designed and created a synthetic chromosome which they transplanted into a living cell. The living cell created new cells which are controlled only by the synthetic chromosome. The experi... Read More

Bugs can’t hide from the virus hunter

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin was spending the afternoon prowling his empire of viruses. The Center for Infection and Immunity, which he directs, occupies three floors of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Rather than wait for the elevator, Lipkin ran up and down the back stairs to ... Read More

New Tool Detects Ebola, Marburg Quickly, Easily

Boston University researchers have developed a simple diagnostic tool that can quickly identify dangerous viruses like Ebola and Marburg. The biosensor, which is the size of a quarter and can detect viruses in a blood sample, could be used in developing nations, airports and other places where n... Read More

Chinese university manages to store data in bacteria

The quest to squeeze more and more data into ever smaller spaces continues, but current materials and techniques have their limits. One day in the not too distant future we will reach the limits of current hard drive technology.

So where do we look for the next storage breakthrough? If you as... Read More

Disease-causing bacteria genetically engineered to produce medicine

Usually we hear about E. coli bacteria when there's an outbreak of food poisoning. But now a group of engineers have turned these disease-causing bugs into a "production platform" for antibiotics.

Genetic engineers have been trying for a while to tweak the genes of E. coli so that they'll pro... Read More

Sewage Water Bacteria Fills 'Missing Link' in Early Evolution of Life on Earth

A common group of bacteria found in acid bogs and sewage treatment plants has provided scientists with evidence of a 'missing link' in one of the most important steps in the evolution of life on Earth -- the emergence of cells with a nucleus containing DNA (eukaryotic cells).

For billions of ... Read More

HIV-infected blood cells selflessly commit suicide

In a heroic act of sacrifice, HIV-infected white blood cells known as T cells self-destruct to prevent proliferation of the virus, according to a new study. Unfortunately, their sacrifice is in vain, as the mass die-off of T cells debilitates the body's immune system, resulting in the immune dis... Read More

Why babies digest milk more effectively than adults

A new study has pointed out that infants are more efficient at digesting milk than adults due to a difference in the strains of bacteria that dominate their digestive tracts.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and Utah State University have identified the genes that are mos... Read More

Microbiology: The new germ theory

Jillian Banfield trades in hell holes. In September, she could be found wading through the dark, hot, sulphurous innards of Richmond Mine at Iron Mountain, California, where blue stalactites ooze the most acidic water ever discovered, with a pH of −3.6. A year before that, she was pumping up a t... Read More

Superbug reported in Denmark

Denmark has had its first case of infection with a New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) superbug, reports Politiken newspaper.

NDM-1 has caused major concern in European countries as such bacteria are resistant to conventional antibiotics.

The patient concerned is a 57-year-old woman... Read More

Erythromycin A produced in E. coli for first time

Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have reported the first successful production of the antibiotic erythromycin A, and two variations, using E. coli as the production host.

The work, published in the November 24, 2010, issue of Chemistry and Biology, offers a more cost-effe... Read More

The New Germ Theory

Natgure, 25 November 2010, has a fascinating article by Lizzie Buchen on a collaboration among Jill Banfield (UC Berkeley), a geologist, Michael Morowitz (University of Pittsburgh), a neonatal surgeon, and David Relman (Stanford University), a pioneer in the field of microbiome studies, to apply... Read More

NASA's O/OREOS Dunking Bacteria in Space Rays

Today NASA officials announced that a tiny satellite launched last week has started conducting astrobiology experiments in low-Earth orbit.

No bigger than a bread box, the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses, or O/OREOS, satellite lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska ... Read More

Deciphering how CD4 T cells die during HIV infection

Scientists at Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have solved a long-standing mystery about HIV infection–namely how HIV promotes the death of CD4 T cells. It is the loss of this critical subset of immune cells that leads to the development of AIDS. Most immune cells that die during H... Read More

Haiti - Cholera Epidemic : Last assessment, 23,377 cases, 1,344 deaths, cholera gains the South

The epidemic in Haiti could easily get worse despite efforts to control it, say the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (PAHO).

Dr. Scott Dowell infectious disease specialist said "with regard to the eradication of cholera in Haiti, we have little hope ... Read More

Satellite tracking suggests wild birds may spread H5N1 in Asia

Satellite tracking of wild birds in Asia suggests they may be spreading H5N1 avian influenza from India or Tibet to Mongolia when they fly north in the spring, according to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Nov 16 issue of FAO AIDE News, the ... Read More

Meningitis vaccine to be distributed through Africa

Thousands of deaths could be saved every year when the first vaccine produced specifically for Africa is rolled out in Burkina Faso on 6 December.

MenAfriVac will be offered to 12.5 million people aged 1 to 29 in the country to protect against meningitis A, the variation of the Neisseria meni... Read More

Conan the Bacterium could survive a million years on Mars

It was already nicknamed "Conan the Bacterium" for its ability to withstand radiation. Now it seems Deinococcus radiodurans could, in theory, survive dormant on Mars for over a million years.

Lewis Dartnell at University College London and colleagues froze the bugs to -79 °C, the average temp... Read More

Warming Climate Boosts Malaria in Kenya

In the highlands of East Africa, malaria transmission has skyrocketed over recent decades. New research suggests rising temperatures are at least partly to blame.

A mathematical model of malaria transmission developed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists showed that warming co... Read More

Expanding tuberculosis control in China

China had an estimated 1.3 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in 2008, of which 112,000 were multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB). Over the period 2001, TB was the second largest cause of death among China's 39 notifiable communicable diseases. In a Policy Forum, published in this week's PLoS Medic... Read More
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