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First pathogen with a human gene: N. gonorrhoeae plays the field, accepts DNA from bacteria AND humans

Of the many things that have been said about gonorrhea, here’s one thing no one ever guessed: gonorrhea is a little bit human. A study published in mBio today reveals that the genomes of some strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae carry a piece of the human long interspersed nuclear element (LINE) L1.... Read More

Uncovering the Genome Secrets of the Blackleg Fungus

The genome of the Blackleg fungus, which causes the most damaging disease to canola crops worldwide, has been sequenced for the first time by a team of French and Australian scientists.

"The 12,500 genes that constitute the genetic blue print for the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans have been id... Read More

A novel subgroup of mosquitoes encourages scientists to rethink the fight against malaria

A new genetically distinct subgroup of mosquitoes has been identified in sub-Saharan Africa that displays different behaviors and has a higher susceptibility to the malaria parasite than the traditionally-studied type.

The finding, published online today (February 3) in Science, may provide a... Read More

Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins

A panel of prominent scientists is casting new doubt on scientific evidence that was a key part of the FBI's case against Bruce E. Ivins, the deceased Army scientist accused of carrying out the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.

The National Research Council, in a report issued Tuesday, questioned ... Read More

Panel releasing science review of anthrax probe

The National Research Council in Washington is releasing its review of the science the FBI used in its investigation of the anthrax mailings that killed five people in 2001.

A committee of the congressionally chartered group was set to release the report at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The FBI sought ... Read More

Superbug's spread across West Midlands

A superbug that contributed to the deaths of about 80 patients in Shropshire, has become dominant across the West Midlands.

Researchers in Birmingham, led by Professor Peter Hawkey, said they were surprised at how quickly E.coli ESBL had spread throughout the region.

Professor Hawkey said:... Read More

President and House clash over science spending

The fate of US science funding is up in the air, thanks to vastly different spending proposals from the president and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

On Monday, President Barack Obama presented his 2012 budget request to Congress, which includes funding boosts to a number ... Read More

Bacteria-derived compound may stimulate bone growth in osteoporotic patients, scientists say

A strain of bacteria that live on coral reefs off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, may contribute to the development of medications that will encourage bone growth and inhibit osteoporosis, researchers have announced.

A study published in the journal ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters pointed to... Read More

Bacteria That Grow In Hot Tubs Linked To Playboy Mansion Outbreak

Earlier this month, dozens of people who attended a conference at the Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion in California became ill. According to the Los Angeles Times, they complained of respiratory problems, flu-like symptoms and pneumonia.

The paper reports that public health officials are lookin... Read More

Quest for designer bacteria uncovers a 'Spy'

Bacteria are widely used to manufacture proteins used in medicine and industry, but the bugs often bungle the job. Many proteins fall apart and get cut up inside the bacteria before they can be harvested. Others collapse into useless tangles instead of folding properly, as they must in order to ... Read More

Babies who escape HIV face other death risks: study

Babies lucky enough not to get HIV from their infected mothers still face up to a four times greater risk of dying in the first year because of a greater susceptibility to infectious disease, said a study Tuesday.

Researchers examined around 100 mothers and their babies in South Africa, and c... Read More

Dirty truth: Bachelor pads have 15 times more germs

Turns out some pearls of wisdom are laced into Beyonce's hit song: “All the single ladies. All the single ladies. Now put your hands up. ...”

Seriously, if you are in bachelor’s home, follow her advice and put your hands up — now. Or put them in your pockets. Better yet, put on mittens. And f... Read More

Gonorrhea Acquires a Piece of Human DNA: First Evidence of Gene Transfer from Human Host to Bacterial Pathogen

If a human cell and a bacterial cell met at a speed-dating event, they would never be expected to exchange phone numbers, much less genetic material. In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded from humans to bacteria.

Until now. Northwestern Medicine researcher... Read More

Playboy Mansion visitors hit with mystery illness

Los Angeles County health officials are investigating suspicions that Hugh Hefner's legendary Playboy Mansion was ground zero for a rash of mysterious respiratory ailments that afflicted people who attended a fundraiser there earlier this month.

The inquiry by the Department of Public Health ... Read More

Study showing high effectiveness for H1N1 vaccine stirs debate

A recent case-control study estimates that the adjuvanted pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccine used in Canada was effective 93% of the time, a substantially higher figure than seen in several other studies and one that has raised some eyebrows among other flu vaccine researchers.

In the study, pa... Read More

Doctors would 'bypass NHS sexual health vaccine'

Nine out of 10 specialists working in sexual health would give their daughters a private vaccine rather than use the NHS one, according to a survey.

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) questioned 520 sexual health professionals in the UK.

They are concerned that the N... Read More

Bacterial Biofilms Beat Teflon in Repelling Liquids

Slimy mats of bacteria called biofilms may be the most liquid-repellent materials in nature, researchers have discovered.

“There are a few man-made materials that can perform better, and they have to be made in clean rooms. They’re incredibly expensive and brittle,” said materials scientist A... Read More

Constructing the Microbial Biomap for Planet Earth

Have you heard about the Earth Microbiome Project? Led by the laboratories of Jack Gilbert from Argonne National Labs along with Folker Meyer (Argonne), Janet Jansson (LBNL), Rob Knight (University of Colorado), this is a pioneering effort to characterize the global microbial taxonomic and func... Read More

New Way to Attack Pathogens: RNA Recycling System Gone Awry Brings MRSA to a Halt

Scientists have discovered a new way to attack dangerous pathogens, marking a hopeful next step in the ever-escalating battle between man and microbe.

In a paper published online Feb. 10 in the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists demonstrate that by stopping bacteria's ability to degrade RNA -... Read More

TWiV 120 Letters

Ashley writes:

Vincent, I am a huge fan of TWIV and thank you and the others for taking time out of your busy schedule to do the program. I have my B.S. in Biology and Chemistry and would love to go back to school. I read textbooks, listen to podcasts from itunesU and... Read More

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