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Wild sheep show benefits of putting up with parasites

In the first evidence that natural selection favors an individual's infection tolerance, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Edinburgh have found that an animal's ability to endure an internal parasite strongly influences its reproductive success. Reported in the journal ... Read More

Farmers Fight Poisonous Wheat Fungus with Cleaning and Waiting

Dave Wiechert of Nashville, Illinois, does good business most years cleaning seed for farmers in preparation for planting season. But this year, Wiechert is doing big business after harvest: cleaning fungus off wheat so farmers can sell it.

The "head scab" fungus can produce vomitoxin, a chem... Read More

A Symbiont Betrays Its Host

It came as a surprise to me recently to realize how much is known about the immune responses of plants and, moreover, how much there is to know. There is, I found, detailed molecular information about how our botanical cousins defend themselves against the onslaught of infectious agents. Perhaps... Read More

Pictures Considered #19. The Basal End of Bacterial Flagella

The end of bacterial flagella that is near the cell is a marvel of mechanical miniaturization — a molecular wheel that turns, just like the axle of a car. The assembly consists of a stator, the part that holds it in place, and a rotor, the part that turns. The rotor is a beautifully complex str... Read More

The Discoverability Challenge – How Can We Make Research Data Easier to Find and Use?

Enhancing the discoverability of public health and epidemiology research data is a key to ensuring that it gets more widely used. This was the topic of a recent workshop hosted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where researchers and data experts explored the findings of a re... Read More

Native bacteria block Wolbachia from being passed to mosquito progeny

Native bacteria living inside mosquitoes prevent the insects from passing Wolbachia bacteria -- which can make the mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite -- to their offspring, according to a team of researchers.

The team found that Asaia, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in Ano... Read More

A Tale of Two Strategies

Bacteria are for the most part gregarious organisms, living predominantly in dense communities consisting of multiple strains. In fact, the majority of infectious bacteria occur as multi-layered structures called biofilms, many of which are composed of multiple types of bacteria. As one can imag... Read More

Early antibiotic exposure leads to lifelong metabolic disturbances in mice

Antibiotic exposure during a critical window of early development disrupts the bacterial landscape of the gut, home to trillions of diverse microbes, and permanently reprograms the body’s metabolism, setting up a predisposition to obesity, according to a new study. Moreover, the research shows t... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Selfish Genes*

Evolution is largely driven by conflict, not collaboration, according to cell evolutionist Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Mammalian cells are contentious places, he explains, populated by alien and host genomic sequences fighting for dominance. "In the compet... Read More

Vaccines can cut the spread of meningitis by nearly 40 per cent

Investigators at the University of Southampton have discovered that two new vaccines can prevent the transmission of meningitis bacteria from person to person.

The vaccines do this by reducing ‘carriage’ of the responsible bacteria in the nose and throats of the population.

Meningitis is... Read More

Like cling wrap, new biomaterial can coat tricky burn wounds and block out infection

Wrapping wound dressings around fingers and toes can be tricky, but for burn victims, guarding them against infection is critical. Today, scientists are reporting the development of novel, ultrathin coatings called nanosheets that can cling to the body’s most difficult-to-protect contours and ke... Read More

Ebola Could Eventually Afflict Over 20,000, W.H.O. Says

As the tally of deaths from the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus continued its seemingly inexorable rise, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the epidemic was still accelerating and could afflict more than 20,000 people — almost seven times the current number of reported c... Read More

Dandruff-Causing Skin Fungi Discovered Unexpectedly in Deep Sea Vents, Antarctica

Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude.

... Read More

Wolbachia Genome Reduction, Phage WO, and Reproductive Parasitism

Abstract:

Wolbachia are maternally transmitted endosymbionts that often alter their arthropod hosts’ biology to favor the success of infected females, and they may also serve as a speciation microbe driving reproductive isolation. Two of these host manipulations include killing males outrigh... Read More

Malaria’s Clinical Symptoms Fade on Repeat Infections Due to Loss of Immune Cells

Children who repeatedly become infected with malaria often experience no clinical symptoms with these subsequent infections, and a team led by UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that this might be due at least in part to a depletion of specific types of immune cells.

Working in Ugand... Read More

Synthesis produces new antibiotic

A fortuitous collaboration at Rice University has led to the total synthesis of a recently discovered natural antibiotic.

The laboratory recreation of a fungus-derived antibiotic, viridicatumtoxin B, may someday help bolster the fight against bacteria that evolve resistance to treatments in h... Read More

Small Molecule Acts As On-Off Switch for Nature's Antibiotic Factory

Scientists have identified the developmental on-off switch for Streptomyces, a group of soil microbes that produce more than two-thirds of the world's naturally derived antibiotic medicines.

Their hope now would be to see whether it is possible to manipulate this switch to make nature's anti... Read More

UTHealth researchers find up to 3,000 times the bacterial growth on hollow-head toothbrushes

Solid-head power toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry.

The results of the study are published in the August issue of the Journal of Dental Hyg... Read More

Home is where the microbes are: Home Microbiome Project announces results of study on household microbes

A person’s home is their castle, and they populate it with their own subjects: millions and millions of bacteria.

A study published tomorrow in Science provides a detailed analysis of the microbes that live in houses and apartments. The study was conducted by researchers from the U.S. Departm... Read More

It’s Funnier When You’re Right

The mystery of alcoholic fermentations was uncovered in the first half of the 19th century by Cagniard-Latour (1837) in France, and Schwann (1837) and Kützing (1837) in Germany, based on microscopic studies but not without controversy. The great German organic chemist Justus Liebig did not like ... Read More
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